Chased by Houthis, Yemen refugees live "years of tears"

Chased by Houthis, Yemen refugees live "years of tears"


 By Shokri Najeeb

Ahmed Ali arrived to Marib city on a Hilux car with his family and luggage after dark on Sunday fleeing Houthi manhunt in Al-Hazm city 30 kms north of Marib.

Not knowing where he will find new settlement, he is murmuring and sheds tears. The eyes of his 3-year old daughter, Shadha, are fixed on him as she picks up the cue and sheds and wipes tears just like him.

Being a soldier, Ali left Sana'a at the beginning of the war between the government and Houthis to Aljawf to avoid being drafted into the extremists' ranks by force. "That was the beginning of our ordeal," says Arwa, his wife, as the family unload their luggage considering to set up a tent in an empty plot of land

The Houthi invasion of al-Hazm, the provincial capital of north Yemen's Aljawf, on Sunday afternoon forced the long settled refugees to experience "the bitterness of refuge" anew. "But this time to the known," she says. "Marib itself is a city of refugees. This is our second displacement now and we are not sure if it will be the last," she says. "Since 2015 when Houthis started chasing us, we have lived yeas of tears."

Ali's family is only one of at least several hundreds of families that flooded Marib after the capital Sana'a-based extremists launched a massive assault Al-Hazam using hundreds of radicalized young Jihadists.

Most of the families that lived in Aljawf over the past five years are refugees from the Houthi-controlled territories in the north and west of the country

 Now the Houthi capture of the provincial capital caused an influx of refugees into Marib, already struggling to meet the basic services of tens of thousands refugees.

"We really don't know where to settle. Rents are expensive in Marib and we won't be able to survive the summer heat if we live in tents in the open," says Mubarak Saeed another refugee who arrived in Marib in the same rush day. "More important than that, we don't know how we are going to earn food for our families here," he said. "In Al-Hazm we used to depend on (WFP) aid."

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