Abdullah Loses Leg and Hand due to Yemen Conflict

Abdullah (11) was a cheerful boy. Now, his smile was taken away after losing a leg and one arm.

Abdullah
Abdullah lies limp in his house. (Doc. MEE)

ACTNews, YEMENAbdullah Ahmed Abdullah used to have a carefree life, sailing on the sea with his father and brothers looking for fish instead of going to school. The 11-year-old is from a coastal village in Hodeidah's Duraihimi district, where most of the people, including children, work in fishing to provide for their families and where education is not a necessity.

In 2017, the battles between the rival sides of Yemen's civil war arrived at the village, prompting Abdullah's family to flee to a safer place on the western coast. Within one year, the village was recaptured by forces loyal to the internationally recognized government, and Abdullah's family and others were then able to return to their homes. However, their happiness was short-lived. The coast was now full of deadly landmines. 

"One morning, when I came back from the sea with my brother Nader, we took a block of iron that we found on the ground, thinking it was something we could play with," he said

Abdullah knew that some neighbors were victims of landmines, but he was not aware of what the landmines or other explosive devices looked like. Like other children in his area, he thought he could play with remnants of random objects left on the ground.

"The following day, we played with the iron object. We didn't know that it was an explosive device. When we started to play with it, it exploded, and my brother died immediately. I was seriously wounded," he said. 

Abdullah and Nader were taken to hospital, but Nader was already dead, while Abdullah was bleeding heavily and unconscious.

“When I regained consciousness, I was told that I had been injured by the explosion of the landmine that I was playing with, but I wasn't aware of what exactly happened. I was looking at my body and crying, and kept doing that for days," Abdullah said.

Abdullah lost his right foot and a hand, while his other hand has been paralyzed because of shrapnel. He lost one of his eyes, and if he doesn't get proper healthcare, he may lose the other one.

Abdullah's father, Ahmed, who works as a fisherman, said many people have stepped on landmines. They were either killed or injured, and the survivors had to sell everything to afford treatment.

"I sold everything to get proper healthcare for Abdullah, but to no avail. He may lose vision at any time, as he needs specialized healthcare," Ahmed said.

Abdullah is dependent on his mother to help him with his daily life. The fact that his movement and visibility are impaired has devastated him. "Abdullah suffers from psychological trauma. Sometimes, especially when he argues with his siblings, he tries to jump in the water well," Ahmed said.

Based on data from UNICEF, At least 10,000 children have been killed or injured since 2015 in Yemen’s war .“That’s the equivalent of four children every day,” UNICEF spokesman James Elder said on Tuesday after a visit to Yemen by a team from the UN children’s agency.

“Four out of every five children need humanitarian assistance. That’s more than 11 million children.” Elder said 400,000 children suffered from malnutrition, more than two million children were out of school, and another 4 million were at risk of dropping out.[]