The people of Yemen have become painfully accustomed to suffering.
The war will shortly enter its fourth year. It is a grim milestone for Yemenis, who face the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.
Yemen was already the poorest country in the Middle East when the conflict broke out in March 2015. A heart-breaking 85,000 children are estimated to have since died from extreme hunger, and over 14 million people are thought to be facing starvation.
Millions have fled their homes. Families are setting up makeshift homes wherever they can find available land – in the desert, in abandoned buildings, and on garbage dumps where they can forage for scraps.
Others, like Abdu Muqbel Thabet, 65, and his family, are struggling in one of the country’s many camps for displaced people. They fled their home in Hodeida two years ago, after Abdu’s wife and aunt were badly injured in the fighting.
Conditions in the camp are dire – it is cold, and there is no clean water and no basic services. Still, the family are too afraid to go home.
“I thought about going back but my relatives there told me that there is fighting again and they can’t sleep for the sounds of the planes,” Abdu said. “I told them I will not return until the end of the war.
“I hope [for] reconciliation and [to] stop war and destruction. It is destroying all Yemenis.”
Islamic Relief is pushing world leaders to end the suffering in Yemen. Recently in the UK, we teamed up with other leading charities to call for greater action by all parties.
Islamic Relief aid workers risk their lives to help
Islamic Relief, which has worked in Yemen for more than 20 years, has throughout the conflict provided a lifeline to vulnerable people – including those in blockaded areas.
A ceasefire in the critical port of Hodeida came into force last month, bringing with it a sliver of hope – but the danger remains, explained Islamic Relief aid worker Salem Jeffer Baodaid:
“The bombing may have stopped but security remains a huge challenge. Delivering aid, especially to remote areas, is still a matter of life and death – for the people who need aid to survive and unfortunately for our staff who risk their lives to make sure that food makes it to places it is needed.
“Last week, one of our drivers died after a stray bullet hit him in broad daylight. He was just 1km from our office and had stopped to change a tire at a local garage. Anywhere else in the world, this would be a simple, everyday task, but not in Hodeida.”
Islamic Relief delivers food, shelter materials and healthcare. Such assistance is helping Sadeq al-Ameri, 36, who was shot in the head during clashes in Taiz. When he emerged from a month-long coma, he found the left side of his body was paralysed.
“Things started to improve when charities like Islamic Relief stepped in to help,” said Sadeq, who is now cared for by a prosthetics and physiotherapy centre in Taiz, which is supported by Islamic Relief.
“[They got me] medicine, crutches, splints, physiotherapy and electric therapy. I’m grateful to Islamic Relief for the support they’ve given.”
The centre is also helping forty-year old Muqbel Ali Qasim Mahyub, who lost a leg to a landmine which was planted close to his home.
“The prosthetics centre helped me with crutches and a wheelchair,” explained Muqbel. “Now I am receiving medical attention here to help me prepare for a prosthetic limb.”
Last year alone, Islamic Relief assisted 2.1 million people in Yemen. With your support, we can continue helping vulnerable people in the war-torn country.