The war-torn nation of Yemen is facing another crisis amid Saudi Arabia's military campaign as its national blood bank verges on total collapse after losing Western aid, its director said.
Doctors Without Borders distributed their last package of aid – two months' worth of donations – to the blood bank in June after suspending aid to the country following over two years of work. A spokesperson for the group said it had handed over responsibility for donations to the U.N. World Health Organization, WHO.
"If the center stops, a catastrophe will hit the whole country," said Munir al-Zubaidi, a spokesman for the bank said. The country is already mired in the world's worst humanitarian crisis as a result of the Saudi war on the impoverished country.
Victims of the two-year war, as well as patients suffering diseases including thalassaemia, cancer and kidney failures, would be affected if the bank closed.
More than three million people have been displaced during the Saudi war on Yemen while much of the country's infrastructure, including its health system, has been destroyed.
Since last August, the U.N. has reported that at least 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict that began last year. The figure has not been updated since.
While Saudis have claimed that civilian suffering has been caused by the Houthis, humanitarian observers have blasted the monarchy's disregard for civilian casualties caused by its indiscriminate bombing of Yemeni targets.
The country of 27 million is also facing a cholera epidemic that has affected 473,000 people and killed nearly 2,000, while 17 million are going hungry and 80 percent of children in the country are in need of humanitarian aid.
"The center suffers from a complete shortage of supplies, including medical solutions, blood bags and medical needs," Hakimi said.
"We have issued an appeal to all civil society groups, businessmen and anyone interested in charity work to save the lives of those who are ill, injured or wounded so the center would not stop," he added.
"WHO is looking into ways to support the National Blood Transfusion Centre," said Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesman, who confirmed the bank was at risk of closing. "Supplies were ordered but have not reached Yemen as of now," he added without elaborating.