Yemeni Conjoined Twins Can’t Get Treatment Because Of The War

Doctors plead for the U.N. to help conjoined twins leave Yemen to receive the treatment they need.

Men crowd the lobby of a field hospital on September 22, 2018 in Al Khawkhah, Yemen. A coalition military campaign has moved west along Yemen's coast toward Hodeidah, where increasingly bloody battles have killed hundreds since June, putting the country's fragile food supply at risk.
Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

Doctors plead for the U.N. to help conjoined twins leave Yemen to receive the treatment they need.

A pair of conjoined twins were born in Sanaa, Yemen, just two weeks ago. They share a torso, arms, legs, and a few vital organs, but other than that, they’re separate individuals, Reuters reports.

The boys, Abd al-Khaleq and Abd al-Rahim, could still survive — or at least one of them could — if given the appropriate treatment, but the conflict in Yemen has ravaged their healthcare system to the point that it’s impossible for local doctors to keep them alive for much longer.

Dr. Al-Balbali, head of the neonatal unit, said the physicians could not even perform basic diagnostic tests with the lack of resources the war has left them; all they can do is keep them breathing in an incubator, but that’s not a viable long-term option.

The boys were born in al-Thawra hospital, which is preparing a report for their case to be studied further by other doctors.

However, the boys can’t be moved somewhere else either, as the Sanaa airports have been closed to civilian flights since 2015, and only U.N. planes are allowed to land without risk of being shot down from the sky.

The parents and the medical staff of al-Thawra hospital are pleading to the United Nations and human rights organizations to help transfer the boys to a safer hospital.

“They need to travel immediately. They will not be able to survive in Yemen under the social, political and economic circumstances in this country.”

Abdullah is waiting in the hospital to have shrapnel removed from his leg, an injury he sustained in Hodeidah province that killed two of his family members. A coalition military campaign has moved west along Yemen's coast toward Hodeidah, where increasingly bloody battles have killed hundreds since June, putting the country's fragile food supply at risk.
  Andrew Renneisen / Getty Images

Troubles in Yemen began four years ago, in 2015, with the ousting of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Sanaa by the Houthis.

Since then, Yemen has been torn in a war between the Houthi movement and a Saudi-backed coalition trying to reinstall Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Tens of thousands of people have died in the bombings, famine, and disease outbreaks as a direct result of the war. BBC reports that two-thirds of the population is food insecure, and 85,000 children have died of malnutrition since the start of the war.

The most damaging result of the war was the cholera epidemic that affected over a million people in a span of two years. The Saudi blockade collapsed the country’s water and sanitation systems, leaving 19.3 million Yemenis without access to drinking water, per UNICEF.

Yemeni doctors believe that living under these conditions has led to an increase in birth defects throughout the country, such as the case of these conjoined twins.

Sanaa, where the boys are being treated, is controlled by the Houthis and is an epicenter of the war effort that is under heavy Saudi siege.