The darkest city in Yemen

 Emergency Response
 26th Sep 2018

Mahmoud Majeed, CARE Field Officer

Hodeidah is my hometown. For me it is the city of angels, the city that never sleeps. The people of Hodeidah have the kindest hearts, they are so welcoming and full of life. Most of them work either as fishermen or in the market as daily labourers. They love to dance and socialise: they are simply full of life.

But today Hodeidah is not the place we knew. The city that never sleeps is now the darkest city in Yemen. People are leaving Hodeidah every day, running for their lives, fleeing to safety.

When you enter Hodeidah you see an ancient gate which for me was always amazing – it made me happy and joyful. Today seeing it in the news half breaks my heart. I feel like a part of me has been taken – along with my happiness, my dreams and my hopes. The precious memories of Eid, of attending friends’ weddings, visiting family, and enjoying peaceful holidays with lots of laughter and happiness have been destroyed.

I am constantly worried about my family. When I hear there were clashes or an airstrike I call them and sometimes the lines are cut so I can’t reach them. This makes me very worried because so many times a house in our area was damaged or someone was injured. Sometimes I wish I had a magic wand to make this nightmare stop. The only thing which keeps me going is that at least in the midst of this crisis I am serving my people.

I work as a field officer with CARE in the villages of Hodeidah governorate. Being in the field you hear many stories of people who fled the violence with only the clothes they were wearing. Stories that break your heart. Every day we see new people fleeing from Hodeidah; the number and the need increases day after day. They flee to villages which are already in need of humanitarian assistance, but the people of these villages welcome the newcomers with open hearts. You see many people with nothing open up their houses to those in need – houses which are made either of banana trees or of just a room with no roof.

Some people fled Hodeidah leaving a member of their family who’d passed away, and some are forced to bury loved ones along the way. Some flee bare foot and don’t even notice. Some have nothing to eat because they lost their job. Some sleep in the cemetery because they don’t have homes. There are many more stories of suffering. Families tell me: “We just want safety. We want to be able to sleep in our houses with peaceful minds.”

And for me, I wish I could work and leave my family without worrying or not being able to sleep. I wish I didn’t get scared every time I get a phone call from my family or my friends because I am afraid something happened to them. I wish that the war would end. I wish we could live in peace again.

Read more about our work in Yemen.


The 'Arc de Triomphe' gate entering the city of Hodeidah, before and after the assault on the city began. (Credit: CARE Yemen/@AhmadAlgohbary).

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