Saddam Al-Abdeeni is Islamic Relief’s Logistics Officer based in Saa’da, where he is responsible for Islamic Relief food distributions. In this article he describes what life is like for the people still trapped inside Saa’da.
“One month on since the latest fighting in Saa’da started and the situation is still the same. People are trapped as firing continues both day and night. From my window I have seen many explosions and have almost become used to the sound of gunshots.
“One of the most difficult things to deal with in this situation has been the feeling of isolation from the outside world. Most of the communication lines with Saa’da have been completely cut off, as the telephone lines and the internet are down. My world has been reduced to this one city and the turmoil that is going on here.
“After one month of fighting, normal life in Saa’da has come to a halt. The water supply has been cut off because there is no fuel left to run the system. Business and trade has stopped, and farming has become impossible because of the continuous fighting. With no way to make an income people are rapidly running out of money but the price of food, medicine and fuel has risen by more than 200 per cent.
“With food so expensive and in short supply, people are rapidly becoming dependent on aid to survive but access for humanitarian organisations is still severely restricted and we cannot meet everyone’s needs. I am worried that if this situation continues for much longer then we could see a sharp increase in malnutrition. Saddam
“People in Saa’da barely leave their homes now. They only go out to buy food from the one market that is still open and then hurry back as soon as they can. Those that can have left the city to try and find safety in one of the neighbouring governorates, but we have heard that many camps have also been attacked and people have been forced to move on again.
“But at least people who have found refuge in the camps have access to some support such as water, food and shelter. The other people who are living in the mountains or valleys, or by the side of the road have nothing.
“Despite the violence, Islamic Relief has been able to continue with its food distributions in Saa’da, providing people with sugar, wheat, dates oil and beans. At one of the distributions I met a woman who had fled her home in Saa’da with her six children and was now living outside the city in the mountains. Her husband had been captured by militants and she was scared that her children would also be taken from her if she did not leave her home.
Desperate for help
“It feels horrible not to be able to do more for people who are in desperate need of help. I have seen the problems faced by the displaced people and heard their pleas for help and this is why I have stayed in Saa’da despite all the challenges. Even if we were unable to carry out our distributions I would not leave, but would stay to offer any support I could.”