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Cut off from imports, and under ceaseless Saudi bombardment, Yemen is now one of the worst humanitarian crises of modern times. Seven million Yemenis live in areas that are close to famine, two million children are suffering from acute malnutrition, and an outbreak of cholera has infected over 600,000 people.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, a member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, said Israel delayed the exit of five women cancer patients from the Gaza Strip for urgent and lifesaving treatment by an average of six months.

From a lack of ambulance drivers to break-downs of the ambulances themselves, to checkpoints blocking routes to hospitals to a shortage of blood, the chaotic response to the deadliest truck bombing in Somalia’s history cost additional lives, medics said.

The International Red Cross is drastically reducing its presence in Afghanistan after seven staff members were killed in attacks this year. Many other humanitarian organisations have pulled out of the country in recent years as Taliban and Islamic State militants have stepped up attacks.

The UN Secretary-General’s annual report names 64 perpetrators for abuse and exploitation of children in conflict, including the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition in Yemen. Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition member Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict has documented violations in Yemen by the Saudi Arabia-led Coalition, including attacks on hospitals and their impact on children's health.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said up to 10 hospitals were reported to have been damaged in the previous 10 days. Damage to Sham hospital in Idlib alone cut off half a million people from access to health care.

Renewed bombing of hospitals in Syria’s six-year civil war by forces loyal to the government of Bashar al-Assad has sparked strong condemnations by human rights groups and despair among local doctors, who accuse the international community of ignoring attacks on medical facilities.

As chair of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, Leonard Rubenstein outlines eight concrete steps states can take now—on their own and through UN bodies—to protect health workers and the sanctity of health care. His statement was given at a UN General Assembly side event on September 22, 2017.

At the UN Human Rights Council. Canada joined countries calling for an international commission of inquiry into abuses in the armed conflict in Yemen. Saudi-led coalition airstrikes, some amounting to war crimes, have killed thousands of civilians and hit schools and hospitals.

The abduction, arrest, and killing of thousands of health care workers, as well as the destruction of and damage to hospitals and clinics, have profound impacts on the health and well-being of populations for years and even decades to come.