MSF leaving Yemen hospital where Houthis ‘threatened workers at gunpoint’

Aid backages are being unloaded from a Doctors Without Borders plane at Sanaa International Airport, in this May 14, 2015 file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 25 March 2017
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MSF leaving Yemen hospital where Houthis ‘threatened workers at gunpoint’

AMMAN: Houthi “interference” has prompted Doctors Without Borders to start withdrawing from a hospital in Yemen, a senior official said.
The military presence at the Al-Thawra hospital, in the governorate of Ibb, is violating the sanctity of the medical profession, the official told Arab News.
The Houthi presence has prompted Doctors Without Borders, which is known by its French acronym MSF, to terminate provision of services and withdraw from the hospital.
Speaking by phone from Zurich, the organization’s deputy director, medical doctor Tammam Al-Oudat, said the Houthis continue to obstruct the work of the MSF teams, as well as of other medics operating at the hospital.
This is impeding them from performing their duties and from providing proper medical services to patients, he said.
“We have asked the (Houthi militias) to guarantee full and free access to patients to hospitals, as well as end the military presence in the hospital and stop interfering with the medics’ decision-making process,” Al-Oudat told Arab News.
“They refused to meet our demands and therefore the MSF decided to gradually end its services and leave the hospital over the next three months.”
Meanwhile, the Yemeni press quoted Local Affairs Minister Abdul Raqib Fattah as saying that Houthi militia had broken into the Al-Thawra hospital and threatened workers at gunpoint.
He called on relevant UN organizations to condemn Houthi aggression against the medical teams in areas under their control.
Al-Oudat said MSF medical teams will continue to provide medical services to locals in the Al-Shifa hospital, in the same governorate, which receives patients from Taiz.
According to Al-Oudat, the Al-Thawra hospital will continue to operate, but under the supervision and administration of Yemeni medical staff.
The MSF has been working at the hospital since 2015.
Al-Oudat said that over the past month, MSF has received over 41,000 patients at the Al-Thawra hospital, with more than 50,000 surgeries conducted on citizens from across Yemen since the war broke out nearly two years ago.
MSF teams are also providing medical services to Yemenis in eight governorates across Yemen.
Access to quality, affordable health care is severely compromised, Al-Oudat said, and after almost two years of war, humanitarian and medical aid is still failing to meet people’s most basic needs.
In a separate development, a Saudi soldier was killed by a missile fired by the Houthis that struck a military base near the border, the Interior Ministry said Friday.
The missile was launched late Thursday from a rebel-controlled area in Yemen and hit a base in Dhahran South, killing border guard Atallah Yassine Al-Anzi, according to a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).


Iranian bread permanent guest at Kuwaiti tables

For decades, Taftoon bread has been a staple of Kuwaiti dinning tables. (AFP)
Updated 17 July 2019
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Iranian bread permanent guest at Kuwaiti tables

  • Taftoon has remained popular in Kuwait despite escalating tensions in the past year between Iran on one side and the US on the other

KUWAIT CITY: Khalil Kamal makes sure he regularly visits Kuwait’s popular Souq Al-Mubarakiya, where he enjoys his favorite kebab meal with onion, rocket and freshly baked Iranian bread.
The smell of the bread wafts through the market as it bakes in a traditional oven at the Al-Walimah restaurant in downtown Kuwait City.
The restaurant’s Iranian baker takes one of the many dough balls lined up in front of him and spreads it over a cushion, using the pad to stick the dough against the inside wall of the clay oven.
Once ready, he uses a long stick to reach in and pull out a steaming rounded loaf, served piping hot to customers.
For decades, Iranian bread — known as taftoon — has been a staple of Kuwaiti breakfast, lunch and dinner tables.
“Iranian bread is the only bread we’ve known since we were born,” 60-year-old Kamal told AFP.
Hassan Abdullah Zachriaa, a Kuwaiti of Iranian origin, opened Al-Walimah in 1996. Its tables are spread across a courtyard, surrounded by wooden columns and entryways.
Zachriaa, in his 70s, said the restaurant puts out between 400 and 500 loaves of Iranian bread a day.
“The big turnout in Kuwait for Iranian bread stems from the fact that for decades, our mothers used to make it at home,” he told AFP.
“We then started to buy it from bakeries and stand in lines to get it fresh and hot in the morning, noon and evening.”
The flat bread is offered alongside many dishes popular in Kuwait such as Al-Baja, lamb bits stuffed with rice, Al-Karaeen, cooked sheep feet, classic chickpea plates, or beans and cooked fish.
Almost all restaurants in the old market have their own traditional clay ovens where either Iranian or Afghan bakers work.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Taftoon is offered alongside many dishes popular in Kuwait such as Al-Baja, lamb bits stuffed with rice.

• Almost all restaurants in the old market have their own traditional clay ovens where either Iranian or Afghan bakers work.

• The bread has remained popular in Kuwait despite escalating tensions in the past year between Iran on one side and the US on the other.

• Bakeries specializing in Iranian bread began popping up in Kuwait in the 1970s and have since expanded to more than 100.

Derbas Hussein Al-Zoabi, 81, a customer at Al-Walimah, said many Kuwaitis were raised on Iranian bread.
“Since childhood, Iranians baked bread for us ... and we used to eat it in the morning with milk and ghee” — clarified butter.
Other than at street markets, Kuwaitis can buy Iranian bread from co-ops, where people line up in the early hours of the morning and again in the evening to get the freshly baked goods.
Some bakeries even have designated segregated entryways for men and women.
Some Kuwaitis customise their orders with spreads of sesame, thyme and dates, and many come prepared with cloth bags to keep the bread as fresh as possible on the trip home.
Bakeries specializing in Iranian bread began popping up in Kuwait in the 1970s and have since expanded to more than 100, according to deputy chief of the Union Co-operative Society Khaled Al-Otaibi.
“These bakeries produce 2 million loaves of bread a day to meet the needs of Kuwaitis and residents,” he told AFP.
“They receive fuel and flour at a subsidised price so that bread is available for not more than 20 fils (less than seven cents).”
The price however can go to up to 50 fils depending on the amount and type of additives, including sesame and fennel.
Taftoon has remained popular in Kuwait despite escalating tensions in the past year between Iran on one side and the US on the other.