Hamed Mostafa, a 5-year-old child from the city of Taiz which is under the control of government forces in southwest Yemen, is one of the heart-rending examples in the city due to war.
His mother says that he suffers from a turbulent psychological situation as he does not feel safe in his life and is haunted by nightmares, as well as being scared of anything. Hamed’s life changed dramatically after October 30, 2021and his mother describes this day as one of the hardest days in her life and the life of her son.
In Hawd al-Ashraf, al-Kamb neighborhood in the Al-Qahera district, east of Taiz, where the home of the child Hamed and his family is located, less than 2 km far from areas of military confrontation between government forces and the Houthi militia, Hamed and his family were about to have a painful tragedy, as a shell fell in the neighborhood from the direction of the Houthi militia's position east of the city. Meanwhile, Hamed and his 3 siblings were playing near their house according to Hamed’s mom. The mother had gone to a medical clinic earlier, and when she was only 10 meters away from her home, the shell fell and cut her four children into pieces.
In a voice chocked with tears, Hamed’s mother continues telling what happened: “When the shell fell and was close to our house, I felt at that time and knew that my children had been harmed, so I started screaming and crying out loud.”
According to Hamed’s mother it was a traumatic situation that she would never forget when she saw her son Hamed’s foot severed from his body whereas he was carried on the shoulder of a paramedic from the neighborhood in a scene that made her fall to the ground unconscious because of the tragedy and the situation.
Of her four children, only her little one, Hamed, was left, while the other three children’s, Laila Mustafa Ali Abdel-Daem, 11 years old, Hameed Mustafa Ali Abdel-Daem, 9 years old, and Mahmoud Mustafa Ali Abdel-Daem, 6 years old, bodies were torn by shrapnel and died as a result of their fatal injuries.
This incident destroyed the life of Hamed’s mother as she says, “I have become sick since they were killed and my eyesight has deteriorated. I walk unconsciously after them. I left my children playing only to come back and see them torn into pieces.” She adds, “I lost my children and lost my health with them.”
She adds in words that reflect grief and heartbreak, “their father and I suffered a lot to raise our children and we strived to ensure they would get good education but they became victims of this war. I live with their memory and at night I check their beds in the house.”
In addition to being a patient with a benign stomach tumor and periodically following up to do check-ups with a specialized doctor in one of the city’s clinics every three months, today she also experiences the pain of losing her three children and the injury of her little child, Hamed, who represents a constant pain that she experiences on daily basis as he lost his right foot, in addition to the pathological problems caused by the effects of the distribution of shell fragments in different parts of his body.
The child Hamed currently, according to his mother, is still having night panic attacks and he normally screams while sleeping as a result of what happened to him and his siblings after the shell fell while they were playing near the house. He wakes up from sleep sometimes screaming and he wants to get out of the house without any reason.
Every day Hamed asks his mother the question that she compares to a dagger in her chest: when would he be able to play?”
For nearly a year, the child Hamed remained unable to move. His family couldn’t afford to fit prosthetic foot to him as his father is a daily wage worker in the city of Taiz and his income hardly covers the living expenses.
Hamed's childhood life has turned into a prison at home. He is unable to move as he used to do. His psyche is also haunted by scenes of blood, screaming and distress.
He was recently fitted with a prosthesis in the prosthetic center, but he still needs time, according to his mother, to get used to it so that it becomes a real replacement for the foot he lost, and if his wounds are healed as a child, he needs his psychological wounds to be healed too and his fear and terrifying nightmares to be over since these psychological issues are the biggest problems that accompany him according to his mother.
There are hundreds of children like Hamed whose limbs have been amputated because of the ongoing seven-year war in Yemen. Will these children find a future soon that will replace fear and grief in their hearts with prosperity, peace and laughter?