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Yemen: ICRC alarmed by rising death toll

06-12-2011 News Release 11/254

Geneva/Sana'a (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is deeply alarmed by escalating violence in the Yemeni city of Taiz. At the same time, the security situation in the city is making it extremely difficult for medical personnel and facilities to treat people injured in the violence. The ICRC calls on the authorities, fighters and all others involved to respect human life and dignity and to allow first-aid and medical teams to treat and transport injured people in safety.

"There are worrying reports of injured people being unable to reach medical facilities, and of facilities being attacked and damaged," said Eric Marclay, the ICRC's head of delegation in Yemen. "The violence has had a serious impact on basic services in recent weeks, with life-saving medical services especially hard hit. The escalating violence on the streets of Taiz has left dozens dead or wounded." The ICRC reminds all those concerned that all possible measures must be taken to search for, collect and evacuate the wounded and sick

In some cases, Yemen Red Crescent volunteers and others transporting the injured have been prevented from saving lives or have been injured themselves. "Trying to save a life can cost you your own these days," commented Marclay. "Anyone who is injured must be able to receive life-saving medical care without delay. Access to health care infrastructure must not be arbitrarily denied or limited. It is essential that medical staff, vehicles and facilities be protected and respected," he added. Hospitals must not be attacked.

The ICRC has been helping medical facilities cope with casualties since unrest started in Yemen. For the last three days, a team of ICRC surgeons has been working hand in hand with local doctors in Taiz, carrying out life-saving surgery. In addition to supplementing local staff, the team has brought in enough medical supplies to treat several dozen casualties.

For further information, please contact:
Rabab Al-Rifaï, ICRC Sana'a, tel: +967 1 213 844 or +967 711 94 43 43
Hicham Hassan, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 41 or +41 79 536 92 57