Médecins Sans Frontières recognizes Saudi coalition’s help in Yemen

The humanitarian group says it has helped treat more than 37,000 and carried out nearly 15,000 surgeries in the country

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Médecins Sans Frontières on Monday acknowledged the efforts being made by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition in Yemen in facilitating humanitarian help on the ground.

A letter, made available to Al Arabiya English, the MSF addresses General Abdulrahman bin Saleh Al Bunyan of the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation. In the letter, the humanitarian group says that “the coordination of movements were imperative and especially challenging in a country at war.”


“MSF would like to acknowledge the efforts done by the Coalition in order to facilitate the work of its teams on the ground. MSF is the witness of the endeavor exerted by the Coalition and especially its Evacuation and Humanitarian Cell (EHO) in order to make sure MSF is able to run its operations,” the letter, written by MSF International Representative in the Middle East Antoine Bieler, said.

While recognizing that war can be challenging, the letter also requested for more "flexibility and adaptation" in efforts with the coalition.

“MSF tries its best to fit into the criteria’s and rules imposed by the Coalition,” addting that MSF would like the coalition to show a similar flexibility and adaptation when necessary to facilitate MSF's humanitarian work.

Infographic: MSF activities in Yemen (March 2015-2016)

Infographic: MSF activities in Yemen (March 2015-2016)
Infographic: MSF activities in Yemen (March 2015-2016)

Over the past year, MSF has helped treat more than 37,000 wounded and carried out nearly 15,000 surgeries. A total of nearly 1,100 tons of medical supplies have been sent to Yemen over the past year, according to MSF figures.

Ahead of a planned meeting between MSF and coalition officials in Riyadh, the humanitarian group also raised certain queries and issues in the letter. Chief among these are prior notifications on movement requests, evacuation of MSF structure, access to decision makers of the coalition and establishment of a Saudi-MSF hotline.

The letter also highlights the issue of driving MSF cars in Yemen without their logos. “Due to the situation on the ground in Yemen, there are zones where MSF judges that from a ground safety perspective it is safer to drive in an unmarked car than a marked one. MSF expects to make such decisions on its own and requires some understanding from the Coalition about this process,” Bieler said in the letter.

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