HAJJAH, Yemen, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) — Hasan al-Jaeyedi, a Yemeni boy, has been largely confined to bed since shrapnel from a projectile during a military attack more than six years ago hurt his head and spine and paralysed him.
The tragedy happened in January 2016, just a little more than a year since a civil war broke out in Yemen, when fierce battles between the Yemeni government forces and the Houthi rebels spread to the Midi District in the northwestern province of Hajjah. “I was playing alone when that projectile fell and exploded near my house, pushing me up in the air,” al-Jaeyedi said, sitting on his rickety bed made of wood and ropes in front of his family’s house located on the outskirts of Midi. “I saw my blood running from my body,” the 12-year-old recalled the last glimpse before losing consciousness.
As soon as the explosion was heard and smoke rose, Hasan’s mother, older brother and neighbors ran from the farm to find him bloodied. They rushed him to a hospital near the border with Saudi Arabia, dozens of kilometers north of his house. Finally, the boy survived. “Since then, I cannot stand, walk or play … But I want to walk and run again like other children,” he told Xinhua. Islam al-Sabri, a local doctor, told Xinhua that Hasan is in urgent need of financial assistance to move him to a specialized hospital out of the province to complete his treatment. However, his older brother Ahmed, 22, said the family has no money to take Hasan to such hospitals in other cities.
Their father passed away just weeks before the onset of the civil war in late 2014, leaving the eight-member family helpless in the tragic war. Following the attack, Hasan’s family, along with many other residents, fled Midi to a camp for internally-displaced Yemenis near the border with Saudi Arabia, where they stayed for nearly three years. They then returned homes after the Yemeni army, backed by the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces, recaptured the district from the Houthi rebels in April 2018. Hasan is just one of the many Yemeni children maimed or killed in exchange of fire or by explosive remnants across the war-torn country. The United Nations Children’s Fund has warned of a growing number of child victims from missiles, landmines, cluster bombs, and remnants of war in Yemen. “Since the conflict escalated in Yemen nearly seven years ago, the UN has verified that more than 10,200 children have been killed or injured. The actual number is likely much higher,” UNICEF said on its website in March.
The civil war in Yemen erupted in late 2014 after the Iran-backed Houthi militia swept and took control of several northern provinces, forcing the Saudi Arabia-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa. The United Nations is making efforts to end the war in Yemen by mediating a political settlement between the warring parties. This year, it brokered for the first time a two-month cease-fire in Yemen on April 2, and then managed to extend the truce twice to Oct. 2.