Sana’a- Muhammed Farhan
“My only wish is to get medications for high blood pressure and diabetes regularly since I am unable to provide them and my health is in danger if I do not take these medications.” In her lifeless voice, the the fifty-year-old lady Sa’ada Dabwan summed up the human tragedy experienced by a Yemeni family of 11 people, nine girls, a boy and their mother. The tragedy that began in 2016 with the death of the father in the Kalaba area of the Cairo District, Taiz Governorate, southwest of Yemen, and it continues with more painful details since the first day it started.
Sa’ada lives with her ten children in a shop (a room on the street that is used for commercial purposes as a food store or a one-door store and there are no vents). The harsh conditions forced her to live in this place in the Sawan area in the city of Sana’a after she moved there from Taiz in 2017.
It is a painful human tragedy. The mother lost her sight after being hit by shrapnel of a shell in 2017 that fell near their house in the Kalaba neighbourhood, which is a neighbourhood in the Cairo District located in the Tamas area, east of Taiz, between the parties to the conflict, government forces and Houthi militias.
She describes what happened on that day and said that she lived terrifying hours of shock as she used to do her daily housework, like the rest of the days. She was watching her children gather around her in the evening, as well as working to provide the financial means that facilitated her to provide the requirements of living. When she saw them fine, she felt overwhelmed with joy. However, a shell exploded near the house when she was preparing dinner for her children outside the house on firewood due to the lack of gas, so she fell on the ground and the shrapnel spread throughout her body. The most dangerous of those shrapnel was the one settled in her face, specifically her eyes. This incident turned her into a woman unable to take care of her children as she was, and her soul became a repository of pain and sorrow. She continues, "I only woke up in the hospital and was unable to look at those around me."
Sa’ada says that all medical-surgical attempts to make her able to see with her eyes failed and she is now blind and debilitated by diseases as she suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.
Saadeh has not left her home in the Kalaba area despite the danger of the place since 2015 as she couldn’t afford the costs of moving and paying rents. Her husband died in 2016 as a result of kidney failure, but then she was hit by shrapnel from a shell and lost her sight in 2017. She also says her brother helped her despite his difficult economic situation after her health condition worsened and she had no one that she could ask for help but him. Indeed, as Sa’ada said that her brother helped her move with her children to the city of Sana'a, and rented a small shop for her to live with her children in a difficult living situation and harsh conditions at all levels.
Sa’ada continues to narrate her tragedy and through tears she says that, “She has been unable to pay the rent which does not exceed 15,000 Yemeni riyals, equivalent to approximately $13, for three months, and thus she might be required at any time to leave due to non-payment of the monthly rent.”
Sa’ada lives with her children in suffering that she can’t face, especially now that she can’t see. She suffers from chronic diseases for which medicine should be used continuously and but she had to stop using these medicines as a result of her inability to buy them, as she says, which has negative health consequences such as constant headaches.
Sa’ada says, "My only wish is to get medication for high blood pressure and diabetes regularly since I am unable to provide them and my health is in danger if I do not take these medications.”
She has recently been unable to pay the rent, and all that one of her daughters collects from the handicrafts she has learned is not enough to provide the minimum requirements for living with the simplest and least necessary things. Her life and her children’s lives have become a living hell, as she describes, in light of the increasing prices and her helplessness with her deteriorating health condition and chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure that affected her health in addition to losing her eyesight.
Sa’ada and her ten children have been put by the war on the margins of life, prey to pain and suffering, like hundreds of Yemeni families, which represent the highest percentage of the most fragile group of society psychologically, healthily and economically.