Struggle & Survival In War-Torn Yemen

 Source: (Aljazeera) In 2015, Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi established his government in the southern city of Aden after being forced by Houthi rebels to flee the capital, Sanaa.

As the threat of the rebels grew, southern forces closed ranks around Hadi to defend the coastal city and other areas in the south with the support of a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia.

However, from the very beginning, this was a forced alliance in a region where separatist feeling prevailed even before the war. The south was an independent state until unification with the north in 1990.

Today, after three years of conflict and despite the expulsion of the Houthis from most of the southern territory, distrust among separatists towards Hadi has only grown.

In January, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) broke its alliance with the Yemeni government and, after several days of clashes, the Security Belt – STC militias – took control of Aden. Since then, the flags of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen have once again been seen flying in the city, signalling renewed aspirations for southern independence.

In the south, the conflict with the Houthis feels increasingly distant. However, the region is affected by the threat of al-Qaeda, a problem that has taken root in some southern areas experiencing frequent deadly attacks.

Caught in the long-running conflict, civilians keep bearing the brunt. More than 40,000 displaced people, who arrived in Aden from other areas of the war-torn country, scrape by in slums and makeshift desert settlements, abandoned to their own fate.

The difficulty of accessing potable water has led to outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and dysentery. Children are particularly affected. The health crisis is aggravated by the lack of medical personnel in public hospitals, where workers have not been paid for several months.

Years of fighting and corruption have also led to oil scarcity at public petrol stations, which has in turn triggered huge price rises at private ones and on Aden’s black market. As a result, power cuts are frequent and residents are often unable to run generators due to the fuel scarcity.

A checkpoint run by the Security Belt in Kraytar, a frequent target of al-Qaeda attacks in Aden. On the right is the flag of the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, symbolising the independence aspirations of the south. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
A checkpoint run by the Security Belt in Kraytar, a frequent target of al-Qaeda attacks in Aden. On the right is the flag of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, symbolising the independence aspirations of the south. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
The al-Qatea area in Aden, which comprises a multitude of official buildings and banking entities, was vigorously attacked by the Houthis in 2015. Today, access to the area is restricted, with soldiers standing guard against any possible al-Qaeda attacks. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
The al-Qatea area in Aden, which comprises a multitude of official buildings and banking entities, was vigorously attacked by the Houthis in 2015. Today, access to the area is restricted, with soldiers standing guard against any possible al-Qaeda attacks. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
Every day, Aden residents form long queues to buy cooking gas due to a widespread shortage of supplies. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
Every day, Aden residents form long queues to buy cooking gas due to a widespread shortage of supplies. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
A boy carries drinking water in one of the existing points of sale and supply in Aden. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
A boy carries drinking water in one of the existing points of sale and supply in Aden. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
A man fills his motorcycle tank with gasoline bought on the black market in the centre of Aden. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
A man fills his motorcycle tank with gasoline bought on the black market in the centre of Aden. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
A petrol station employee in al-Aresh informs a customer that there is no gasoline. The lack of fuel at stations is a huge problem in Aden and has caused prices to skyrocket on the black market. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
A petrol station employee in al-Aresh informs a customer that there is no gasoline. The lack of fuel at stations is a huge problem in Aden and has caused prices to skyrocket on the black market. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
Asha with her sister-in-law and her grandchildren in a small house in Gawala in Aden, where they have taken refuge since they fled war-torn Taiz three months ago. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
Asha with her sister-in-law and her grandchildren in a small house in Gawala in Aden, where they have taken refuge since they fled war-torn Taiz three months ago. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
Inside a room at Ibn Khaldon Hospital in the city of Lahj, mothers are treating their sick children suffering from measles. The hospital has hardly any staff, since doctors and nurses have not received their salaries for months. There is also a lack of medicines and cleaning staff. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
Inside a room at Ibn Khaldon Hospital in the city of Lahj, mothers are treating their sick children suffering from measles. The hospital has hardly any staff, since doctors and nurses have not received their salaries for months. There is also a lack of medicines and cleaning staff. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
Four-month-old Faisal, seen here with his mother in the Lahj-based hospital, suffers from malnutrition and dysentery. They are from a small rural village where access to food and drinking water is much more difficult than in cities. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
Four-month-old Faisal, seen here with his mother in the Lahj-based hospital, suffers from malnutrition and dysentery. They are from a small rural village where access to food and drinking water is much more difficult than in cities. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
After leaving Sabaha, their home town, due to violence and poverty, this woman and her son now live in a small tent near the city of Aden. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
After leaving Sabaha, their home town, due to violence and poverty, this woman and her son now live in a small tent near the city of Aden. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
This small tent and improvised crib serve as home to a family displaced by the war in the surroundings of Aden. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
This small tent and improvised crib serve as home to a family displaced by the war in the surroundings of Aden. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
Women and children displaced by the conflict now scrape by in tents in the middle of the Omran desert, a few kilometres from Aden. Some organisations provide them with water to survive and withstand the high temperatures. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
Women and children displaced by the conflict now scrape by in tents in the middle of the Omran desert, a few kilometres from Aden. Some organisations provide them with water to survive and withstand the high temperatures. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
A man with psychological problems remains chained to his small tent in the Omran desert. Left to fend for themselves on the outskirts of Aden, the man and his family manage to survive despite being unable to purchase the medicines needed to treat his illness. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
A man with psychological problems remains chained to his small tent in the Omran desert. Left to fend for themselves on the outskirts of Aden, the man and his family manage to survive despite being unable to purchase the medicines needed to treat his illness. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera
A checkpoint of southern militias in Salah al-Deen. The flag of the former People's Democratic Republic of Yemen is seen once more in the south of the country. [Judith Prat/Al Jazeera]
A checkpoint of southern militias in Salah al-Deen. The flag of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen is seen once more in the south of the country. Judith Prat/Al Jazeera

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