“Landmines are everywhere. I cannot go out to breathe.” People in Yemen suffer from landmines which have claimed thousands of lives due to the war.
HAJJAH, Yemen, July 13 (Xinhua) — When Mohammed Kadish heard the good news that battles had ended in his village in the northwestern Yemeni province of Hajjah early last year, he immediately gathered his family, his livestock in the barren displacement camp and hurried back home.
Unfortunately, only a few hours after their arrival, two of his grandchildren stepped on landmines, with the 11-year-old having his left hand blown off and the seven-year-old losing her legs.
Mohammed Kadish’s grandchildren sit at a bed out of their hut in Abs District in Hajjah province, Yemen, on July 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Mohammed ALwafi)
“The boy had his hand blown off by a landmine explosion while he was grazing the goats, while his younger sister lost her legs when another landmine exploded while she was riding a donkey,” the 48-year-old grandfather told Xinhua in front of his straw hut in Al-Okdah village in northern Abs district.
“Landmines are everywhere … I cannot go out to breathe. The landmines surround me from all directions, in the farm, on the road, near the home,” Ahmed, the 11-year-old injured boy, told Xinhua.
In addition, four other landmines killed 25 of Kadish’s goats, a camel and a donkey while two road landmines destroyed his two cars.
“We had been displaced because of the war, and when we returned to our village, we found it full of landmines,” he said.
Mohammed Kadish’s granddaugnter sits on the ground next to a hut in Abs District in Hajjah province, Yemen, on July 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Mohammed ALwafi)
The villagers said the landmines had killed and wounded dozens since people returned from the displacement camps after the army recaptured their village from the Houthi rebels.
The government-run Saba news agency has reported that the army in cooperation with the Saudi-led coalition forces have cleared 32,000 landmines in the districts of Abs, Hayran and Midi since the beginning of 2019.
The UNICEF said in a statement in March that landmines and explosive war remnants had claimed lives of thousands of civilians throughout the five years of brutal war in Yemen, including 149 children.
“An additional 579 children were maimed,” the UNICEF said.
Mohammed Kadish shows a car destroyed by a landmine in Abs District in Hajjah province, Yemen, on July 4, 2020. (Xinhua/Mohammed ALwafi)
The Yemeni war erupted in late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized control of much of the country’s north and forced the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in early 2015 to support Hadi’s government.
The war has killed tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, displaced over 3 million and pushed more than 20 million to the brink of starvation.
The UN relief agencies said Yemen is suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, describing it as one of the largest landmine battlegrounds in the world since World War II.