Life in Times of War in Yemen
First-hand account of Fatima Al Kohlani, age 78 speaking by telephone in Sana’a the morning of Eid. She is a mother of 4 and grandmother of 14. Her voice is tired and wary and choked with sobs.
“I can’t sleep. It’s impossible to fall asleep for fear of not waking up tomorrow. The bombings come either near midnight, right before we lay down to sleep, or very early in the morning. They wake us up with a jolt and fill us with terror.
We live in deplorable conditions; we haven’t had electricity in four months. The only water we have to drink, water that we are forced to buy from trucks, is ten times more expensive than before the war. My little girl spends hours looking for a bit of fuel so we can have just one hour of power from the generator. It is our only ‘luxury’ to have a tiny bit of electricity so we are not so cut off from the rest of the world; so we can call family and hear from friends, even if the news is bad, as it always .Nearly every family has been touched by the loss of a loved one.
Since the bombing started four months ago, kids have not been able to attend school. My son is so close to taking his final exams, but they have all been cancelled.
Where we live, we are surrounded by neighbors who have nothing left to eat. Masons, plumbers, painters, gardeners, and those who work in construction no longer have any work and therefore, no revenue. The price of food has drastically gone up, 5 or 6 times what it was before.
My youngest brother Mohamed is a truck driver. He told me that the trucks that carry water, food and fuel from Sana’a to Hodeidah are being purposefully targeted by bomb attacks. All along this same route, the chicken farms have all been destroyed. If this continues, we will all die of hunger.
Saudi planes have bombed the Technical School in our village of Manakha. In Amran, the cemetery has been destroyed and last week, in Sana’a, the oldest textile factory near Bab Al Shub was also hit by bombs. Our country is already so poor, what will be left after this war? What do the Saudis want; that our youth remain unschooled and without work and out of desperation, ready to join the ranks of Daech? (ISIS).
My other brother is 60 years old, and a diabetic. He can’t find insulin and his condition is worsening every day.
My friend Salma from Aden lost her sister because she could notget to the hospital to be treated. Her family is taking refuge in a little house in Al Mansourah to escape the fighting and the bombs. All twenty of them are now living together in a tiny space, without electricity or water and with outside temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius.
It is the same fate for all the other families around us. My son-in-law’s parents fled the fighting in Taêz, after their home was demolished. My daughter and her five children are seeking refuge with me because the area where they lived between Attan and Sana’a is being bombed daily.
Nowhere is safe. I thought only the cities were affected, but the villages are equally being targeted. My cousin has told me that in a tiny village near Khamer, houses have been hit and the families inside have all perished.
I’m terrified of dying and afraid of never again seeing my son who lives abroad. He can’t come back to Yemen because of this cruel blockade, which is also responsible for keeping medicines from entering into Yemen.
When will this all be over? Why is there such hate targeted against our people? What crime have we committed to deserve such severe punishment?