"I Don't Want It To Be My Turn To Die!''
time for the US to reevaluate the toxic
relationship with Saudi Arabia!
September 17, 2016
Senators Al Franken, Chris Lee, Chris Murphy
and Rand Paul have just introduced a joint
resolution calling on Congress to block the
Obama administration’s recently announced
sale of $1.15 billion in weapons to Saudi
Arabia. This is terrific news! But to have
any chance of passage, we need all hands on
Please take a minute to call
your Senator’s office too! You can use this
toll-free number to reach the Capitol
switchboard and be transferred to your
Dial 1-855-68 NO WAR/1-855-686-6927.
September 17, 2016 "Information
Yemen (AP) — Sitting by her son's hospital
bed, Houdaid Masbah looks at her 5-year-old
boy's skeletal body and sunken cheeks,
helplessness engulfing her like a thick
cloud — a desperation she shares with many
other mothers in Hodeidah.
Even before the war, Hodeidah was one of the
poorest cities in Yemen, the Arab world's
most impoverished nation. Now, the
destruction of the port city's fishing boats
and infrastructure by the Saudi-led
coalition's airstrikes over the past 18
months of war has deprived the townspeople
of their prime livelihood.
The U.N. estimates that about 100,000
children under the age of five in the city
and the surrounding province, also called
Hodeidah, are at risk of severe
Life became harder for the people in this
Red Sea city after March 2015, when the
coalition of nine Arab Sunni countries began
bombing Yemen's Shiite Houthi rebels to help
the internationally recognized government of
President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi return to
power. The Houthis had pushed Hadi into
self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia and
captured large chunks of the country,
including the capital, Sanaa.
coalition suspected the Houthis were using
Hodeidah fishermen to smuggle weapons across
the sea from Iran. The airstrikes destroyed
most of the wooden boats along with fish
storage facilities, markets, roads and
bridges — leaving the fishermen jobless and
fearful after seeing some of their
colleagues were killed in the strikes.
Yemen's conflict dragged on, food prices
soared and gasoline ran out.
Hodeidah's central hospital, the 12-bed unit
for children with severe malnutrition has
been fully occupied for months. Children
reduced to skin and bone cry tearlessly as
their mothers watch by their bedsides,
unable to help.
Masbah, the mother of 5-year-old Salem Ali
Salem, says her boy remembers only hunger.
"From the day I gave birth to him ... till
now, we are suffering," said the mother of
eight. "He got better for a short period of
time and then he relapsed."
Salem's father is a fisherman and the family
lives in Baqea, a village nearly an hour's
drive from Hodeidah. That's where Ibrahim
al-Kaali, a social worker, first saw him and
helped bring him to the hospital in early
"When I first carried him, I was afraid of
crushing his bones under the weight of my
hands," said al-Kaali. Salem's family is
just one of about 600 impoverished and
desperate families in villages along
Hodeidah's western coastline, he added.
Before the war, a fisherman could support
his family on about 700 rials a day (about 2
dollars), feeding them fish, bread and rice.
But with no fish and no money, the
villagers' meals were mostly reduced to
bread and tea for breakfast and a plate of
rice for lunch, said al-Kaali.
have 20 Salems, this (situation) is
prevalent all over Hodeidah," Ossan
al-Abbsi, a pediatrician at the hospital,
told The Associated Press, speaking over the
phone like others interviewed for this
"There is an accelerating increase in the
number of children suffering malnutrition,"
he said. "We used to have five cases while
the rest of the beds were empty on any given
day. Now, you can never find an empty bed in
Al-Abbsi says that even after the children
improved enough to be discharged from
hospital, their condition often deteriorated
rapidly as their family struggled once more
to feed them.
International agencies have classified
Hodeidah among nine of Yemen's 22 provinces
that are a step away from famine. A U.N.
report in June said that in Yemen, "the
highest malnutrition prevalence" is in
More than 10,000 people have been killed or
wounded in Yemen's war so far, and 2.8
million have been displaced. The
land-and-sea blockade imposed by the
coalition and the Houthis' ground offensives
have contributed to the deteriorating
situation. U.N.-mediated peace talks in
Kuwait were suspended last month, with no
signs of progress.
Over half of the country's population of 26
million is suffering from food insecurity,
according to U.N. figures. UNICEF said that
2015 nutrition surveys in five of 10 highly
affected governorates in Yemen, including
Hodeidah, showed that 96,600 children under
the age of five are at risk of severe acute
malnutrition — compared to 23,000 before the
conflict escalated in March that year.
U.N. figures also show fishing declined by
75 per cent in Hodeidah and the western city
of Taiz as the Saudi-led coalition
restricted access to the sea and bombed
Food prices in Yemen have soared by 60
percent, according to a June-September
report by the Integrated Food Security Phase
Classification, which is being used by
international organizations to measure food
Hodeidah used to have public markets with
fresh produce and food items three times a
week, while now they are only held once
weekly because of fuel shortages, al-Abbsi
least 12 villages along Hodeidah's
coastline, including the one where Salem's
family is from, have never seen any type of
development projects, leaving them
marginalized and underdeveloped, al-Kaali
When the conflict erupted, they suffered the
"Here you won't find a school, a medical
center ... drinking water is from the wells.
They are already deprived of everything," he
Sheikh Dawoud Gunid, a village elder in
Baqea, said high levels of illiteracy and a
shortage of medical centers, coupled with
high transport costs, means children often
receive no medical treatment until they are
Hassan Tanmina, a fisherman and a father of
eight, said the airstrikes have made him
fear the sea.
can't go to work to get food for our
children," he said. "We are besieged by
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