CASE 1: Anonymous mother of four
From left: Maria (5), Abdulaziz (12) and Abdullah (13).
“We keep asking ourselves why this is happening to us. What have we done to deserve this?”
As fighting along Yemen’s west coast escalated dramatically through May and June, the family of six were forced to flee their home in Hodeidah for the relative safety of Sana’a.
“Our life was good before the war. My husband used to work in a private, medical company and I was working in a pharmacy. All our children went to school back then,” the mother said.
The Saudi-led coalition offensive on Hodeidah city led to violent ground clashes along the coastal governorate and heavy airstrikes in close proximity to the city.
“The airstrikes started. We got stuck in the middle of the fighting and we were surrounded by sandbags that were put up along the frontlines. I used to gather all my children and hold them tight next to me when we would hear the planes come.”
Many of their neighbours were injured during the fighting and the family soon realised they had to leave to save their lives. Two days after the airstrikes started, they fled the city, leaving family, friends and neighbours, as well as all of their belongings, behind.
“I sold my jewellery to afford the bus trip out. We brought nothing but some clothes.”
The family knew a woman in Sana’a who owns a house and gave them a room to stay in for a monthly rent of 5,000 Yemeni rial (approximately 20 USD). Today the family is struggling to get by. Without any income and with all of their belongings gone, they are left in need of most basic things, including food and medicine. The mother of four offers henna work as a means of generating a very small income.
“My husband continues to look for work. He is willing to work with anything. I can’t find a job here.”
The children are not yet registered for school, but their mother keeps trying.
“It is difficult to raise our voices and demand our rights without any tools to help us.”
“My youngest daughter keeps asking me why we are not moving home. The children
are very affected by the situation. Their lives have changed completely.”
Abdullah (13) lost one of his friends in the war.
“I miss my friends and our old neighbourhood. The only thing positive about Sana’a is the weather, but aside from that everything was so much better in Hodeidah,” Abdullah said.
“We are being harmed by all parties in this war. I want to return to my home. I want to restore my dignity,” the mother said.
The woman’s siblings and broader family all fled Hodeidah to different parts of the country. Some of them have been displaced several times.
Photo: Becky Bakr Abdulla/NRC