HUFFINGTON POST

Inside The Bare-Bones Camp Where Families Try To Survive Yemen's War

The Shawqaba camp is home to young and old. But its residents lack adequate shelter, nutrition and health services.
Yemeni families struggle for survival in Shawqaba camp, near the border with Saudi Arabia. They were uprooted
Yemeni families struggle for survival in Shawqaba camp, near the border with Saudi Arabia. They were uprooted from their villages by the country's war.

HAJJAH, Yemen (Reuters) - They live in scruffy tents or mud huts on dry, stony ground. Children play with what they have - a rubber tire will do. Medical treatment is hard to come by for young and old alike.

In northwest Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Middle East, families uprooted by the war have been stuck in camps for the past year.

Around 400 of them now reside in the Shawqaba camp in Hajjah province, which borders Saudi Arabia. A visiting Reuters photographer has captured their life in a Wider Image photo essay.

A girl rides a donkey in the camp. Many children suffer from a lack of nutrition and health services in the Shawqaba camp.
A girl rides a donkey in the camp. Many children suffer from a lack of nutrition and health services in the Shawqaba camp.

When fighting between Saudi forces and Houthi rebels began in March 2015, these refugees were forced to leave their villages in al-Dhahir and Shada districts in neighboring Saada province as Saudi-led warplanes targeted Houthi positions.

Residents and human rights groups say some of the strikes destroyed homes and damaged farmlands. The coalition has acknowledged mistakes in air operations in Yemen but denies Houthi allegations that its forces strike civilian targets.

A few months later, the place they sought refuge, al-Mazraq camp near the border city of Harad, also in Hajjah, was bombarded.

Families moved further inland to the arid Shawqaba camp that lacks the most basic services. Residents call home poorly built huts that protect them neither from summer heat nor winter cold.

A woman sits inside her hut at the Shawqaba camp. Elderly people with health conditions complain of a lack of medic
A woman sits inside her hut at the Shawqaba camp. Elderly people with health conditions complain of a lack of medicine, and the high prices when medicine is available.

Amal Jabir, 10, standing outside her family’s hut, says there’s only one thing she wishes for.

"I want this war to be over, to return home and finish my studies," she says.

Many children suffer from a lack of nutrition and health services. Muhammad, 11, is waiting for treatment of his fractured leg.

Elderly people with diabetes and heart conditions complain of a lack of medicine - and the high prices when it is available.

"I want this war to be over, to return home and finish my studies," ten-year-old Amal Jabir says. 
"I want this war to be over, to return home and finish my studies," ten-year-old Amal Jabir says. 

Yemen has been in a civil war for more than a year between supporters of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Iran-allied Houthi group that has sucked in a Saudi-led alliance and caused a major humanitarian crisis.

U.N.-sponsored peace talks are scheduled to start in Kuwait on April 18. The two sides in the conflict have confirmed a truce starting at midnight on April 10.

Take a look at more images from the camp below:

In the camp, medical treatment is hard to come by for both old and young. Children sit under a mosquito net outside their fam
In the camp, medical treatment is hard to come by for both old and young. Children sit under a mosquito net outside their family's hut in the camp.
A girl holds her sister outside their family's hut. Around 400 families live in the camp.
A girl holds her sister outside their family's hut. Around 400 families live in the camp.
Many of the people who live in the camp were forced to leave their villages in neighboring Saada province.
Many of the people who live in the camp were forced to leave their villages in neighboring Saada province.
A woman carries a child at the Shawqaba camp. The residents of the camp live in poorly built huts that protect them
A woman carries a child at the Shawqaba camp. The residents of the camp live in poorly built huts that protect them neither from summer heat nor winter cold.
A man and a boy sleep outside a tent at the Shawqaba camp. 
A man and a boy sleep outside a tent at the Shawqaba camp. 
People prepare mud bricks to build a hut at the camp. 
People prepare mud bricks to build a hut at the camp. 
A woman and children are pictured in their tent at the Shawqaba camp.
A woman and children are pictured in their tent at the Shawqaba camp.
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