‘1st bomb took my leg’: Yemeni children tell RT of their suffering under Saudi-led strikes

As Saudi-led airstrikes on Yemen enter their third year, devastation and misery dictate daily life for millions of its citizens. RT spoke to some of the most vulnerable – children, who have experienced the war firsthand.

A teenage boy, Hussain Hadi, was walking to a funeral with his father when “Saudi-American” planes suddenly started bombing. “The first strike left me without my leg. I remember I was standing – and then I fell down – already without a leg,” he recalls. The boy sits on a hospital bench after doctors examined his leg, amputated to the knee.

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© Mohamed al-Sayaghi

Another youngster, Samir al-Shamiri, recounted another attack while he and his friends were playing outside. “The bomb fell in our yard. I fell, my friend was walking in front of me. I felt something hit my back, as if it was a stone. My friends took me to the hospital,” Samir al-Shamiri recounts.

The boy’s father, Sharaf, says the children were playing near the home when the strike hit. “It dropped in the middle of the yard, four children died, and one is in a hospital in critical condition.”

More than 11,000 civilians, including children, are feared to have died since the onset of the Saudi-led intervention, according to the UN figures. 

Despite the condemnation of human rights groups and calls to investigate the coalition’s alleged war crimes, the conflict remains largely underreported, says author Abdel Bari Atwan. That is “simply because Yemen is not an oil country,” he said in an interview with RT. “The West is paying attention when their interests are affected,” Bari Atwan believes. “It’s a shame for the international community to stay silent while people, children are suffering.”

More than 5,000 children have been maimed and killed in Yemen, the nation’s UNICEF representative Meritxell Relano said, calling it “the worst place to be a child right now.”

READ MORE: ‘Yemen is one of the worst places to be a child right now’ – UNICEF representative

Some 167,000 young Yemenis suffer from severe or acute malnutrition; and over 11 million children cannot survive without humanitarian assistance. Apart from famine, aggravated by the Saudi blockade of aid routes, millions of Yemenis also risk contracting cholera.

Starting in March 2015, the Riyadh-led coalition has waged a bombing campaign against Iran-backed Houthi rebels in an attemp to reinstate ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as president. Yet more than 1,000 days on, the Saudis are no closer to victory. “Saudi Arabia is trapped in Yemen,” Abdel Bari Atwan says. “This kind of campaign failed to achieve its goals. Saudi Arabia is hugely embarrassed.”

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