Conflicts & War

Yemeni conjoined twins head to Jordan after Houthis’ refusal to Saudi gesture

Sana’a, Feb 6 (efe-epa).- Fifty-day-old Yemeni conjoined twins were flown by UNICEF-chartered ambulance aircraft from the Yemeni capital Sana’a on Saturday to the Jordanian capital Amman where they are to have a life-saving separation surgery after the Houthi rebels refused a Saudi offer to evacuate them.

Muhammad and Ahmad Yasser al-Bukhaiti were born connected at the chest. They share a liver and a pancreas.

Yasser al-Bukhaiti, the boys’ father who accompanied them along with his wife, told EFE before boarding the plane how difficult it has been since the children were born.

“I can’t describe enough the stress we have been enduring during the 50 past days due to the uncertainty of them being evacuated for the separation surgery,” he said.

“We have been worried about the children’s lives, but we all breathed a sigh of relief when we were notified about the evacuation flight,” the father said.

Yemen’s war-ravaged health system and lack of medical resources meant such an operation in the country was impossible.

Saudi health authorities have offered a medical evacuation for the twins to be flown to Riyadh for the separation surgery, but the Houthi rebels who control Sana’a and much of Yemen’s northwest rejected the offer and asked UNICEF to arrange for an airlift to another destination.

UNICEF’s representative in Yemen, Philippe Duamelle, told EFE at Sana’a airport that his agency has mobilized “a network of generous individual donors who have given the resources and made contributions and donations to finance this entire operation.”

He said the twins were in a stable condition but their medical case is “complicated.”

“It is a very delicate medical situation that needs a very specialized type of surgery,” Duamelle said.

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