Yemen blood bank faces threat of closure within days

DUBAI (AFP) – Yemen’s blood bank has sent out an urgent appeal to anyone who will listen, as war and a blockade on the capital may force the centre to close within a week.

“We appeal to all humanitarian organisations in the international community and all financial donors to support the centre, as our medical supplies have nearly run out,” said Adnan al-Hakimi, Director of the National Blood Trans-fusion and Research Center in Sanaa.

“We will only be able to work for one more week, and after that if the humanitarian organisations don’t mobilise to support the national centre, it will shut down.”

The blood bank says it treats some 3,000 Yemenis a month who suffer from cancer, kidney failure and thalassaemia, an inherited blood disorder which causes severe anaemia.

But war, disease and famine have left the bank struggling to keep up with spiralling demand, with basic supplies all but impossible to secure in a country locked in by port and airport blockades.

“We’ve been impacted by the overall situation in Yemen, including the economic collapse,” Hakimi said.

Less than half of Yemen’s hospitals are still up and running two years into a war between Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels, who control Sanaa, and a government allied with a Sunni Arab military coalition led by Saudi Arabia.