Mohammad in Hodeidah: ‘I am afraid for the lives of my family’

Mohammad in Hodeidah: ‘I am afraid for the lives of my family’

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Mohammad, CARE Yemen

Hodeidah is my home. I have lived here since I was born. I love this city, but right now I am afraid something bad will happen to my family and myself. Since this morning we hear planes flying very low. The sound is horrifying. I have never heard it this strong. They say the planes are very close to the city. They are between al Durahmye and Al Hodeidah city. Whenever I hear them, I feel so scared for my family. I am the eldest of four – I have two sisters and one brother and I feel responsible for all of them if something happens. 

Before the war Hodeida was known for its simple, but very kind people. It’s a fishermen’s community – most people earn their living by selling fish at the market. Most of the people here are very poor. When the war started the situation got worse and Hodeidah was really a forgotten place. Now, with the current attacks, it is getting worse and worse. I am afraid of what is going to happen to my people here. 

So many people are sick already. Diseases like cholera, dengue and malaria are spreading. If you go to any house in Hodeida you will definitely find two or more members of the family who had dengue fever and often not just once, but at least twice in the past months. 

Usually during the Eid celebration you see children in the streets playing and you hear fireworks in the streets. This Eid people are afraid to let their children go out alone in the streets. Despite what is happening and how worried people are, they are trying to maintain a smile on their faces and enjoy Eid with their families. But it is so hard, for myself as well.

I am afraid and very worried that the electricity will be cut off when the city is attacked. This can’t happen in Hodeida because the weather is very hot and humid, especially during this month and the coming summer months. Also, if the electricity goes off that means we don’t have any water. This will have a huge impact on the already very dire humanitarian situation in the city, where more than 600,000 people are living. I am not sure if we will be able to survive. 

I am also afraid that we will have to leave our houses. Until now, I can’t make a decision whether to leave or to stay. We don’t want to leave our house. It’s the house my father has built over decades, it’s our home. It is the house my siblings and I grew up in and where we have so many precious memories. I don’t want to see my city getting destroyed because of clashes and airstrikes. Here in Hodeidah the houses are weak and old –  most of them are made of mud and bricks. If a house gets targeted by an airstrike, not only that house but also the other houses near it will collapse. 

Eid is our most important holiday. I have worked for CARE Yemen for more than half a year, working so hard to ease the pain of my people. Right now, more than ever, I wish that all parties will stop bombing and start talking again. They need to find an agreement. I hope that they decide to negotiate rather than destroy my home city and the lives of thousands of people.  

Yemen now has some of the greatest humanitarian needs in the world. Since the violence escalated in March 2015, the humanitarian needs have also escalated at an alarming rate. Civilians continue to pay the highest price. Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East, so people were already in need before the conflict. After the conflict escalated, millions more are in dire need of food, clean water, healthcare and access to jobs. Photo: Holly Frew/CARE