yemen war

Yemeni Photographers Show the Horrors of the Country's Civil War

The five-year conflict has left 80 percent of the population in desperate need.

by VICE Staff
21 May 2019, 10:44am

This article originally appeared VICE Arabia

Since 2014, the people of Yemen have been caught in the middle of a civil war that has created what the UN says is the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The power struggle is between president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the armed Houthi movement, which now controls Yemen's largest city, Sana'a. Hadi has received considerable military support from a Saudi Arabia-led coalition, which has launched numerous airstrikes over Yemen and blocked food and other supplies from getting into the country.

The violence has led to 80 percent of Yemenis needing humanitarian assistance, with 18 million of the country's 29 million citizens lacking access to safe drinking water. To show just how devastating the crisis has been, VICE Arabia partnered with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a collective of six young Yemeni photographers who have been chronicling the terrible impact of the conflict on their respective communities.

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A group of children play football in the middle of a neighbourhood in Saada, north west Yemen, that was destroyed by a bombing. Photo: Karrar al-Moayyad/ICRC.

Photographer Ali Al Sonidar grew up in the ancient city of Sana'a and is a member of the collective. He developed his passion for photography by capturing tourists from all over the world visiting to see the city's famous souks and wonderful architecture.

"I wanted my photography to be human, to convey a message and to instigate change," the 28-year-old says. "I honestly hope to go back to taking pictures of tourists and joyful moments in the city. But that's impossible now, because someone needs to tell the story of the war."

Scroll down to see more photos from photographers Ali Al Sonidar, Ahmad Al Basha, Karrar al-Moayyad, Saleh Bahlais, Abdallah Al Jaradi and Khaled Al Thawr.

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A boy in Sana'a uses a rice bag to carry his books. An estimated 2,500 schools have been damaged or destroyed by the conflict. Many schools are being used as shelters for displaced people and some have been taken over by armed groups. Photo: Ali Al Sonidar/ICRC
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This infant had to travel a long way from his village of Saqayn to reach the Al-Salam Hospital in Saada. The difficulty in moving goods has resulted in a major food crisis in the country. Photo: Karrar al-Moayyad/ICRC.
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A boy collects scrap for resell from piles of trash that litter Taiz City. Poor sanitation has led to an outbreak of cholera. Photo: Ahmad Al Basha/ICRC.
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Carrying her infant in one arm and a heavy jerry can on her head, this woman is forced to walk two kilometres from her home in Habeel Salman, west of Taiz City, to fetch water. Photo: Ahmad Al Basha/ICRC.
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A group of women from Hajja sit among their only possessions. They make money by selling snacks on the roadside. Photo: Khaled Al Thawr/ICRC.
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Two siblings from Hodeida wait inside the dark and unventilated shelter their family took refuge in after fleeing the violence along Yemen’s Red Sea coast. Photo: Ali Al Sonidar/ ICRC.
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A displaced woman sits in the coastal city of Aden, in southern Yemen. Photo: Saleh Bahlais/ICRC.
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An elderly man who has just inspected his house in the Al Jahmaliah district of Taiz, central Yemen. Most of the apartment buildings in the district have been reduced to rubble. Photo: Ahmad Al Basha/ICRC.
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The conflict has destroyed historic districts, including Sana'a's ochre-coloured Old City. The tourists are now all gone, and vendors struggle to make money. Photo: Ali Al Sonidar/ICRC.
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Two children in Marib, east of Sana'a, ride down the street on a three-wheeled cart. Photo: Abdallah Al Jaradi/ICRC.

In Yemen, the ICRC facilitates access to clean water to millions of Yemenis through their support for water corporations and authorities. They visit detainees and help improve the detention conditions. ICRC surgical teams and ICRC-supported structures treat and provide emergency care to more than a million people across the country, including displaced people.