NEWS

This Yemen Orphanage Survives Through Air Strikes On A Nearby Weapons Depot

As the war rages on, the orphans suffer through a constant state of fear and trauma.

23/03/2017 16:09 SAST | Updated 23/03/2017 16:26 SAST
REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
A boy plays on a swing as others watch in a yard of an orphanage in Sanaa, Yemen, in January 2017.

After two years of war, orphans in the Yemeni capital Sanaa have only one dream — to survive.

The al-Shawkani Foundation for Orphan Care is located around 100 meters from the al-Nahdain mountain, widely believed to be an arms depot that has been repeatedly bombarded by Saudi-led coalition's fighter jets.

Bombardments of the explosive-laden peak send huge mushroom clouds erupting into Sanaa's skies and shake the whole city.

As the war rages on, the orphans suffer through a constant state of fear and trauma.

"We were scared, and every time we hear the plane's noise, they (orphanage staff) would rush us quickly to the basement fearing for our safety," said Mousa Saleh Munassar, 14.

"Many of my friends have left the orphanage and returned to their relatives," he added. "I expect strikes nearby at any time."

Mousa once dreamt of becoming a doctor, but describes the only dream he and his friends now share: "We want the war to calm down for us to see security and stability come back."

Orphanage director Muhammad al-Qadhi says it relies on the generosity of private donors and charity groups.

But the war has devastated the economy and unleashed a humanitarian crisis, depleting savings and public resources.

"We are going through a pressing need for aid for these orphans amid the scarcity of resources that used to provide for them due to the ongoing war," he said.

The foundation used to host around 350 orphans before the conflict began. Now only around one-third remain after most left for the relative safety of living with family members in the countryside.

REUTERS
Girls stand in line to board a bus to transport them to school from an orphanage in Sanaa, Yemen, December 26, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah