While the population of the west coast of Yemen (desert coastal plain of the Red Sea) has always experienced austere living conditions, a major coalition offensive against the Houthis has been conducted in this region since December 2017...
Several groups took part in the offensive: the brigades of the giants (Amaliqa brigades led by Abdulrahman Zaraa Mahrami and gathering 20 to 25,000 men), the National Resistance Forces (also known as the Guardians of the Republic led by Tareq Saleh, the nephew of the former president and gathering 9 to 10,000 men), and the Tihama resistance (led by Ahmed Al Kawkabani with about 4,000 men). They are supported by the coalition (led by Saudi Arabia and including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan…) and locally mainly by the Emiratis and the Sudanese army.
These armed groups, which have different objectives, are now fighting the same enemy under a common banner with the intention of taking the strategic port of Hudaydah.
Unfortunately, at one point all those extremely different groups with their own specific objectives will give ample space for future infighting…
Despite the 300,000 landmines (according to the Yemen Mine Action Center) allegedly removed by the Yemeni army, hundreds of thousands remain. Today, demining is focusing on roads and strategic infrastructure, leaving civilian areas behind.
The use of antipersonnel mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) remains a growing threat in Yemen that will persist after the current phase of the conflict will be over.
The first victims of this hidden threat: civilians, killed, amputated or mutilated.
Economic (and vital) activity is affected, mines scattered in pastures have frequently hit farmers / herders and their animals. Two activities that are the main source of livelihood for many families in rural areas.
According to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), at the end of November 2018 the number of deaths directly related to the conflict since its beginning (2016) are six times higher than the figure of 10,000 frequently cited by the UN.
*Tihama Region refers to the Red Sea coastal plain of the Arabian Peninsula from the Gulf of Aqaba (Saudi Arabia) to the Bab el Mandeb (Yemen)
In August 2018, Doctors without borders teams opened a trauma center in Mokha to provide emergency surgical care to war-wounded from Hudaydah and Ta’izz front lines.
It is the only facility offering surgical support to civilians in this region of Ta’izz governorate. The teams are treating war-wounded, road accident victims and pregnant women during complicated deliveries that require urgent surgery.
Between August and December 2018, MSF teams admitted more than 2,000 patients in the emergency room and performed more than 1,000 surgeries.