The internal conflict, which already plagued Yemen over many years, has erupted into a full scale war, with the intervention of Saudi Arabia. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia started a bombing campaign in March of 2015, with a coalition of other Sunni countries, against the Shia Houthi-rebels, who by that time had occupied a major part of Yemen.
In March 2015 our administrative staff was evacuated from Sanaa, on the urgent advice of their embassy, and in April the Korean ophthalmologist and gynecologist and a nurse-practitioner were evacuated from the island of Socotra. Only one Dutch couple (surgeon and nurse) decided of their own accord to stay behind on the island.
Although the situation on the island has remained quiet, our staff has faced a number of logistical problems. Regular flights from and to the island have been suspended during the last year. Food, fuel and medical commodities were in short supply at times.
Because of lack of staff and shortage of fuel our staff has not been able to continue the weekly visits to the two out-clinics; in stead they have visited the clinics in Qalansia and Noged at alternating weeks.
Because of the many demands on their time in the hospital in Hadibo (due to the shortage of staff), and also the lack of incentive because of the non-functioning government offices in Sanaa, they have not kept the statistics over 2015.
Due to pressing health issues, the Dutch couple left the country at the end of November 2015, when a rare flight to the UAE was available.
Unfortunately peace-talks have not resulted in cessation of fighting yet. Our two Dutch staff members are waiting until flights to Socotra are resumed. In the mean time they remain in close contact with the director of Health of Socotra, who will fully cooperate to facilitate their return.
A group of young new midwives, all from Socotra, have just finished their three years training in Mukalla. From the Director of Health of Socotra they all received a complete set of instruments for the purpose of home deliveries.
Yemen is one of the oldest centers of civilization in the Near East. Its capital and largest city is Sana'a. Yemen's territory includes over 200 islands, the largest of which is Socotra, about 354 km (220 mi) to the south of mainland Yemen. It is the only state in the Arabian Peninsula to have a purely republican form of government. Yemen was the first country in the Arabian peninsula to grant women the right to vote. Yemeni unification took place on 22 May 1990, when North Yemen was united with South Yemen, forming the Republic of Yemen.
The majority of Yemen's population is divided into tribal groups, especially in the northern areas of the country where 85% of local residents belong to various tribes. There are also small groups of peoples of Turkish/Ottoman origin in urban areas. Roughly 66% of the population are Sunni Muslims following the Shafi'i school while 34% adhere to the Zaydi Shia branch of Islam with small minorities of Ismali Muslims.
A Shia rebel movement, the Houthis, emerged in the early 2000s, claiming it would fight against what it saw as the marginalization of the Shi’ites of the Zaydi sect, which prevails in the Yemeni highlands.