Taiz, Yemen: Yemen’s ongoing civil war in which the Houthi rebel group is besieging Taiz. The war continues to rage, 37 of the 40 hospitals and medical institutions in Taiz.
With an intensifying war, scarce medical supplies are prioritized for casualties of the conflict, leaving the sick and vulnerable without the care they need.
Due to the lack of oxygen newborn babies that are dying every day in Taez.
Last month, Hani Mansour took his wife, who was expecting their first child, to the Republican Hospital in the city of Taiz. She gave birth to their son. But to Mansour’s shock the doctors said that his son need to stay in an incubator because his lungs were not fully developed.
Mansour said. “I tried to move my child to al-Hikma private hospital, but there were no oxygen cylinders there either, so my child died five hours after his birth.”
Only the Republican and al-Hikma hospitals have incubators, but because both hospitals usually lack oxygen supplies, the incubators do not work regularly.
Dr Rania Mohammed, the supervisor of the incubators department at the Republican Hospital said, “Around 20 oxygen cylinders arrived at the hospital in the last two weeks,” he added, “But these cylinders are not enough, as some of the children need to stay in the incubators for several weeks and sometimes for two months, and these cylinders only last for a few days.”
Mohammed added that power cuts further complicate the use of the incubators: “The fathers of the newborn children have to bring generators to the hospital to turn the incubators on.”
Children die because the electricity generator stopped, and they suffocate in the incubator because of the power cut. 30 people died in December and most of whom were children.
The Houthi rebel group prevents the import of basic commodities, as well as medicine, propane, and oxygen cylinders, to besieged areas of Taiz.
The other way to get oxygen cylinders is by smugglers, who carry goods on the backs of camels on a road cutting through the mountains.
The oxygen cylinders are transported from Aden province to Talooq village, only four kilometres from Taiz. Then, the smugglers take the oxygen cylinders to Taiz’s al-Maradei area.
Mohamed Moqbel, 45, a camel owner, is one of these smugglers says that he is very proud of his work as an oxygen smuggler, because he is helping patients in the besieged areas.”I get 5,000 rials [$23] for each cylinder, and my camel carries two cylinders at once. So it is profitable work for us, as we get 10,000 rials [$46] a day, but sometimes we do not find cylinders to smuggle.”