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‘People of Yemen so desperately poor they kill themselves before hunger does’

As peace talks to end war in Yemen continue, three local aid workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council describe its devastating impact.

More than 10,000 people in Yemen have been killed and 3 million forced to flee their homes as a result of almost four years of fighting. An estimated 22 million people are now in need of aid and up to 14 million face starvation. As talks to end the conflict continue in Sweden, three Yemeni aid workers from the Norwegian Refugee Council talk of the physical and emotional destruction the fighting has brought to their country.

Marwan Al-Sabri, 32, water and sanitation officer in Taiz

I was young when the war started, aspirational and ambitious. I could never have imagined the power war has to trash our dreams.

I have already lost friends and relatives in this brutality. Some that have died and others I have been cut off from. I don’t know where they are now; whether they are alive or dead.

If you haven’t seen Taiz, it is impossible to imagine what war has done to this city. The damage hits in every way. The missiles have torn apart buildings and the siege has torn apart families. Movement from the north to the south of the city can take six hours, using dangerous roads and tunnels. Before the war, it took 10 minutes.

War brings out the worst in a society. People are subjected to extortion, threats and detention at checkpoints. The violence has destroyed our social fabric and created smaller conflicts. It has eroded us materially and morally, we have lost the right to live safely and with dignity.