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A Boy In Yemen Was Handed A Camera And The Results Will Break Your Heart

“Everything is gone. What remains are only memories. Please stop the war everywhere in Yemen.”

1. The current war in Yemen, which sees pro-government forces backed by Saudi Arabia clashing against rebels who control large swaths of the country, has been disproportionately harsh on Yemeni children.

Mohammed Huwais / AFP / Getty Images

Earlier in the war, an estimated eight children a day were being killed or maimed, mostly during bombing raids led by the Saudi coalition.

Prior to the war, international NGO Mercy Corps found malnutrition among 12.7% of children in Yemen’s Sana’a province. A rate of 15% is considered emergency levels — it’s now up to nearly a quarter of all children, per Mercy Corps’ most recent data, with one district as high as 28.6%.

2. UNICEF Yemen recently provided a camera to a 12-year-old boy named Abdullah to document what the war has done to his city and his friends. The results, provided exclusively to BuzzFeed News, capture the devastation wrought on the country.

Abdullah for UNICEF

“Behind me is the most iconic place in Aden: the Main Road, the most historical place in Aden. Destroyed and looking ugly,” Abdullah said in the captions provided with his pictures. “The building behind me is where I used to come with my friend. We used to play computer games on the first floor. I am sad. Very sad to see what happened in my city and the places I love the most.”

3. Abdullah also took pictures of his friends, like 13-year-old Ommar. Many Yemeni children not much older than these two have been pressed into fighting in the war.

Abdullah for UNICEF

“Behind me are the remains of beautiful places I used to go to, people I used to greet every morning when I got back from school,” Omarr said. “Everything is gone. What remains are only memories. Please stop the war everywhere in Yemen.”

4. The fighting is affecting nearly every part of Yemeni life. Yemen imports approximately 70% of its fuel, 90% of its food, and all medical supplies. With the disruption the war has brought, the prices for all of these have skyrocketed.

Abdullah for UNICEF

“My little brother’s bicycle has survived the war, but not our city,” 11-year-old Abulrahman said. “Everything is destroyed around us. I took my little brother around with his bicycle to play in the empty city. We are alone here, just me and him.”

5. With no sign of the bombing campaign stopping, reports coming in of hospitals being targeted, and nearly two million children unable to attend school due to the fighting, the situation that Abdullah captures seems unlikely to improve in the near future.

Abdullah for UNICEF

“I used to sell sweets in this street to keep me going to school after my father passed away,” 12-year-old Abdulhakeem said. “Today I went out, and what I saw is shocking. Ruins, ruins, ruins. Nothing but ruins. No school, no friends, no children come to me to buy sweets anymore. This city was very crowded and busy, but now it’s so deserted. War is bad.”

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Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Hayes Brown at hayes.brown@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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