The holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic Lunar Calendar, a month where Muslims fast in the daily hours, increase their prayers and charity, and reflect on their spirituality throughout the day. It is a month that usually brings with it peace and serenity, but sadly this hasn't been the case in Yemen this year.
Yemen has been witnessing a war for the past three months that started on March 25, when Arab Coalition forces led by Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes in the capital Sana'a. Health facilities report that over 2,800 people have been killed and 13,000 injured since the violence started in March.
The eve of Ramadan in Yemen was marked by five simultaneous explosions targeting mosques and offices in Sanaa that killed 31 people and injured dozens on June 17.
— FaizahAl-sulimani (@faizahsulimani) June 17, 2015
Many Yemenis hoped that the United Nations brokered Geneva talks between the Yemeni waring parties would bring with it a humanitarian ceasefire, at least during the holy month, but this was not the case.
— Hisham Al-Omeisy (@omeisy) June 15, 2015
Joyce Karam, Washington correspondent for Al-Hayat Newspaper, tweeted:
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 15, 2015
Mohammed Jamjoom, senior correspondent at Al Jazeera English, reported on the dire humanitarian situation facing Yemen:
— Mohammed Jamjoom (@MIJamjoom) June 21, 2015
Despite the hardship that the country is going through, Yemenis still greeted the holy month with the usual traditions:
— Everyday Yemen (@everydayyemen) June 18, 2015
— Everyday Yemen (@everydayyemen) June 19, 2015
— Sara Ishaq (@SaraHJIshaq) June 18, 2015
Yemenis started and broke their fast this Ramadan to the sounds of airstrikes, which drowned the sounds of dawn and sunset calls for prayers:
— Hisham Al-Omeisy (@omeisy) June 18, 2015
Blood still wet on street in Sana'a Old City & now fighterjets roaring over our heads..it's Ramadan for God's sake! #Yemen
— Hisham Al-Omeisy (@omeisy) June 20, 2015
— Hakim Almasmari (@HakimAlmasmari) June 22, 2015
— Ammar Al-Aulaqi (@ammar82) June 25, 2015
Praying at home, breaking the fast with canned fish as kids scream and jets roar overhead. Yemen's Ramadan: http://t.co/pv5KDrTt7o
— tom finn (@tomfinn2) June 25, 2015
The situation wasn't any better in other parts of Yemen suffering from Houthi shellings and bombardments. Alarabi Al-Jadeed provided a grim report about the situation in central and southern Yemen.
خلت أسواق اليمن من أي تجهيزات لاستقبال شهر رمضان، وسط ركود تجاري وانتشار للسلع منتهية الصلاحية وارتفاع في أسعار السلع الضرورية والخدمات واضطرابات أمنية ونزوح داخلي. وقال مواطنون في عدن، أكثر مدينة تضرراً من الحرب التي تشنها مليشيات الحوثي وصالح على اليمنيين، لـ”العربي الجديد”، إنهم لم يشعروا بدخول شهر رمضان في ظل استمرار المعارك بين (الحوثيين) والمقاومة الشعبية. وتشهد مدينة تعز (وسط اليمن) حرب شوارع بين الحوثيين والمقاومة الشعبية بالإضافة إلى ضربات التحالف العربي بقيادة السعودية، ما أدى إلى توقف الحركة التجارية وإغلاق 95% من المحلات التجارية وفقاً لتقرير صادر عن ائتلاف الإغاثة في المدينة. وتعرض سوق المدينة المركزي للفواكه والخضروات للتدمير جراء المواجهات وتم إغلاقه بداية مايو/أيار الماضي، كما يسيطر الحوثيون على المنافذ البرية الرئيسية
للمدينة وفرضوا حصاراً اقتصادياً على الأهالي
Yemeni markets were empty of any preparations to welcome the month of Ramadan, amid the stagnation of trade, the spread of expired goods, the increased prices of essential goods and services, and unstable security and internal displacement.
The citizens of Aden, the city most affected by the war waged by Houthi militias and Saleh against Yemenis, told Al-Arabi that they did not feel Ramadan's beginning in light of the continued fighting between the Houthis and the popular resistance.
The city of Taiz (central Yemen) is witnessing street wars between the Houthis and popular resistance in addition to strikes by the Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia, which led to a halt of commercial traffic and closure of 95 per cent of the shops, according to a report issued by a coalition of relief in the city. The city's central market for fruit and vegetables was destroyed due to the clashes and was closed in early May, in addition Houthis control the main land ports of the city and imposed an economic blockade on the residents.
The fact remains that the situation is much more catastrophic in Yemen's southern coastal city of Aden. Iona Craig, the only foreign independent journalist who reported from there, describes it “by war or by fever, the only way out of Aden is death”.
For insight into what's happening in Aden, where Yemen's civil war began, here's collection of work from 3 week trip http://t.co/XnCAprDHau
— Iona Craigأيونا كريج (@ionacraig) June 19, 2015
Sahar Nouraddin tweeted the following:
— Sahar (@ssnuraddin) June 22, 2015
— Sahar (@ssnuraddin) June 23, 2015
— Sahar (@ssnuraddin) June 23, 2015
— Abubakr Al-Shamahi (@abubakrabdullah) June 25, 2015
The UN under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Stephen O'Brien, remarked in alarm on the situation in Yemen:
— UNOCHA (@UNOCHA) June 25, 2015
Johannes van der Klaauw, UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, and Amer Daoudi, UN regional humanitarian coordinator, warned the world about the humanitarian catastrophe:
— UNOCHA (@UNOCHA) June 22, 2015
Ahlam Hashem summarized in her tweet what it currently feels like to live in Yemen:
a country where ppl r sentenced 2 death by shelling,street fighting,hunger,outbreak diseases,this is nt a homeland it's a living hell #Yemen
— Ahlam|العباسي (@Ahlam8Hashem) June 22, 2015
Despite all, Yemenis wish everyone a Ramadan Kareem.
Ramadan Kareem. May it be easy 4 those living under hardship/war in Iraq, Palestine, Syria & Yemen & in refugee camps pic.twitter.com/ctsZCrUy65
— نون عربية (@NoonArabia) June 18, 2015