Yemenis under bombardment speak for themselves–two stories

A story from Aden, Yemen

The outcome today, May 23: No gas or bread. In the morning I got dressed and took the empty gas cylinder as well as my two children, J. and A., because there was no one in the house to look after them. After we left the house we took a taxi, in search of gas and bread. God say the truth (and we should do so), the taxi driver had a long beard, which could have meant that he was very religious, but he turned out to be a respectable man with a sophisticated mind. He promised me a discount for the taxi ride. We drove throughout al-Tawahi city looking for gas and bread, from one place to another. Unfortunately, we found neither gas nor bread.

People struggling to find and carry water in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen

People struggling to find and carry water in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen

We decided to go to al-Buriqa, another district in the Aden governorate, as a final stop but, when we had driven almost half the distance, we had found no gas in all the gas stations we had passed. Many cars were coming back without gas, many people returned carrying their empty cylinders.

“We should stop here,” I decided. Why should we go all the way to al-Buriqa and lose a lot of money for the taxi? We joined a crowd of people who were standing in lines waiting for gas, but with no results.

Finally, we got back home but with no gas or bread. All day all we ate was biscuits!

–Zahrat Al-Jabal

 Abdullah, a survivor of the al-Tawahi massacre, speaks

After more than four weeks of a harsh life, my family and I decided to flee from al-Tawahi city, which has been besieged by Houthis for a long time. Nothing could be provided to the city: no water, no electricity. We were eating pasta for lunch. For dinner we were eating biscuits. Life in al-Tawahi was really unbearable.

When our house was shelled we decided to leave it, looking for a safer place to save our lives.

On the morning of May 6, we packed what we needed to take with us. We walked a long distance, until we reached the port.

There were so many people on the path to the port on a very narrow sidewalk.

The first boat came and took the first group of displaced people. My family advanced to the front, waiting for the second boat to take us. Suddenly we saw a shell hit a small island in the sea nearby. We felt worried. Then two shells fell in the sea. One targeted the first boat. I thought that someone is directing the Houthis to target us. Women started shouting. The final shell hit the front of the port. Shell fragments covered the place. My shoulder was injured–the bone was broken.

It was a terrible massacre. I felt as if I was walking on human flesh. The sea was mixed with so much blood that its color was red!

Pier that was full of people trying to escape the fighting destroyed by Houthi shelling.

Pier that was full of people trying to escape the fighting destroyed by Houthi shelling.

I was screaming amid the noise, calling my wife, looking for her in the heaps of the dead and injured, but I couldn’t find her. A few seconds later I heard her voice calling me. I crawled toward her. On my way to my wife, I saw that the wife of my brother-in-law was dead. I also saw my brother-in-law with his hand cut. Another relative was also injured. I could do nothing for any of them. I took my wife and carried my brother-in-law’s son who died. Shrapnel punctured his ear and came out of the other side of his head. When we got out to the sidewalk, I looked behind me and the scene was terrifying. There were many corpses, including many women.

–Abdullah, as told to Yaser Abdulbaqi

Posted June 10, 2015

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