July 1, 2015

Yemen Blog: In the line of fire

*Written by Afrah Al Sana’ani- Programme Assistant & Communication Administrator

An Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia launched military intervention, Operation Decisive Storm on March the 26th releasing airstrikes in Sana’a and other governorates throughout the country. The main targets have been military camps and infrastructure, particularly those related to air defense and long-range capability, including the air force, missile bases and airports.

According to the Arab coalition spokesman Ahmed Asiri, strikes will target any supply convoy and movement of armed groups. This statement indicates that the airstrikes targets may change in the future to focus on Al Houthis directly. If that happens it is also likely that the airstrikes will spread from military camps and infrastructure to moving targets, such as supply convoys and movements of armed groups as mentioned but also weapon caches and Houthi key figures and locations. Since the Houthi rebels have taken over the capital Sana’a, their safe havens are located within residential areas which increase the risk of indirect exposure for innocent civilians and put the people of Yemen quite literally in the line of fire.


After a week of Saudi led airstrikes, 18 out of the 22 governorates in Yemen have been attacked by the Arab coalition which has resulted in severe damaged civilian infrastructure, including schools, health facilities, markets, power plants and warehouses, all of which have been disrupted by the fighting. Thousands of people have been left homeless and have fled their homes in search of safety. Many have sought refuge in Taiz causing an influx of displaced civilians crowding the city. This has created additional problems such as shortage of food and commodities resulting in significantly increased prices. Most of the governorates in the South face clean water shortages and health facilities throughout the country are struggling due to the lack of fuel for generators and water needed to maintain basic operations. There is an urgent need for support to mass casualty management in Yemen, including the need for trauma kits and other medical supplies.

Yemen has become like a big prison. It is surrounded by land and sea; no one can access or exit in and out of the country without the permission of Saudi Arabia.  Millions of Yemeni people are at risk of physical injury or death due to the ongoing airstrikes and fighting on the ground. The general situation remains very tense and unclear as the Yemeni people fear the airstrikes will continue. Further deterioration of the country is highly expected if the conflict carries on although, unfortunately but not surprisingly, the efforts to resume political talks are still weak.

*Image taken from*

Check out the ‘Everyday Yemen’ campaign featuring striking photographs of everyday life in Yemen, capturing the heart and beauty of Yemeni people despite the turmoil within the country. You can find Everyday Yemen on InsagramFacebook and Twitter.

YEMEN BLOG is SPARK’s blog of stories, updates and opinions by SPARK staff, of their personal experiences of the Yemen conflict on the ground after Saudi led military intervention- Operation Decisive Storm- launched and first struck the capital, Sana’a.  If you would like to share your own experiences of the conflict, we welcome external contributions; to contribute please contact