Abduallah Naser Ali with two of his older children, Rodaina (4) and Garah (8).
Abdullah Naser Ali:
“When Radwa was born, she was in a normal condition. She weighed 4 kg when her mother gave birth to her. It was normal, she was breastfed by her mother. They told us not to give her food until she was 6 months old, then we could start giving her special food for newborns. When she got her first vaccination, she got fever symptoms. Later on, her situation become worse, I took her to three hospitals. All the hospitals advised me to take her to Al Sabeen hospital as she was suffering from malnutrition.
I brought her to Al Sabeen and they confirmed she is suffering from malnutrition. The current situation in Yemen is one of starvation, poverty, siege and destruction. This situation affects all Yemeni citizens. Yemenis are suffering but we are also steadfast. You see your child dying in front of you, why don’t they let us live our life?
We want them to stop the blockade and the airstrikes, to stay away from our air, land and sea so we can live normally.
We are a great nation, and even if my daughter is now at risk of death, she is not the first one facing this. A lot of children, young and old people have died already. If only the death of my daughter could rescue the Yemeni nation, I would sacrifice her. I have six children and I would sacrifice all of them so that Yemenis can live with dignity.
We are tired, we are suffering and humiliated. We study but we gain nothing, we work and we gain nothing, what we can do?
I’ve been fighting to stay alive, and will keep fighting until my last breath. I used to have my own restaurant, I used to work, we were in a good situation. My net income was around 20,000 Yemeni Riyals (at that time almost 100$) per day.
During the 2011 uprising, we had to flee from Al Hasaba area (a Sana’a neighborhood). I worked with other people in restaurants, I worked with others in shops, I opened my own vegetable store, but it wasn’t profitable.
I have a motorcycle and I am using it to work, to transport people around. Since this morning I just have just made 700 Yemeni Riyals ($2), and now I have only 350 left because I spent the rest on fuel to come here and see my daughter.
What can I bring with the remaining 300 for my daughter? Or give it to my children at home? I have 6 sons and 2 daughters.
I cannot be but hopeful we will continue living with our heads held high
I feel that my crisis is nothing, it is just 1 per cent of the suffering of Yemenis.
A lot is going on, there are many houses that were bombed with people inside. How many doctors were killed? How many teachers were killed? How many children were killed? My daughter is nothing compared to what happened to a little girl called Ishraq who was killed while she was on her way to school.
I consider that little girl as my daughter. A Yemeni girl who was going to school to get education, to serve the community, and that was her end, this is a disaster and a crime.
The future of my sons is in God’s hands
All Yemenis are only concerned about surviving the day, how they will manage to get through it, nobody thinks about the future.
Our legendary resilience that we have had for almost two years now in the middle of all this devastation and war, is because we care about today and forgot about the future.
If we had to think too much about the future we’d just get lost. If we worried about future we we’d feel humiliated and subjugated, but we can only think about the day and leave the future in God’s hands.
We eat like the other Yemenis, half a chicken with some cooked veggies, yogurt and dried bread, this is what most Yemenis are eating.
This is what we eat, humble food, but we remain a strongly-knit society, each one care for the other. We eat from one table, as one family, if someone feels full he will leave the table to give a chance to someone else to eat, and so on.
Chicken or beef, before it was available in our table, but now we only have it once a week if we can afford it on Fridays. Half a chicken for the entire family, and once a week, and one kilo bananas that we only eat on Fridays. Once a week it’s either one or two kilos of banana, one kilo of beef or half a chicken.”
Photo: NRC/Karl Schembri
Malnutrition Yemen Sana'a