A story of survival in conflict-ridden Yemen

Ensuring Bushra doesn’t suffer further trauma

Sitting on one of the beds in an Action Against Hunger supported nutrition centre, Bushra, a young mom, lovingly looks at her five month old son Hamed. “He will live,” our team told her after they complete their medical assessment. This news is a huge relief for Bushra, who has just had to deal with the trauma of losing one of her children.

“I went to the hospital in Hodeidah with my twins. One of them experienced stomach problems. The doctors told me he had water in his lungs. He died.”

In shock, Bushra knew what to do. She left the hospital on the advice of her family, and went to seek treatment at the nutrition centre in Hayis. Her sister-in-law joined her to help her take care of Hamed, while Bushra mourns her baby. The first tests carried out by Action Against Hunger’s staff established that Hamed was suffering from severe malnutrition, a condition that is life-threatening without treatment. He immediately started receiving round-the-clock treatment.

“He has been responding well to treatment, he eats now,” says Bushra, relieved.

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Hamed arrived at the stabilisation centre four days ago, accompanied by his mother and her sister-in-law.  Yemen – 2016 © Florian Seriex

A year of war

An estimated 300,000 children are malnourished in Yemen, with the situation in the country already critical before conflict began. A year of war has only amplified humanitarian needs, causing further hardship for families already struggling to cope.

Married for 11 years, Bushra depends entirely on her in-laws. When her father in law passed away a few months ago, things became difficult. He looked after most of the family’s expenses, typically the custom in Yemen. Since his death, it’s Bushra’s husband who is responsible for feeding his family alone.

Field work is scarce and poorly paid, and the family’s finances are suffering.

“Before the war, we could eat everything but after prices rose sharply, we had to change our diet. The last time we ate meat was months ago, to mark the birth of our twins.”

Inflation, job losses, and scarcity of goods caused by the conflict heavily impact all those in Yemen who have survived and now live in crisis.

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