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Yemen Crisis: one month later

28th Apr 2015

One month on, the humanitarian situation is deteriorating as fighting escalates in Yemen. Many banks are shut, the water network is damaged, fuel and food almost out. An Oxfam staff member in Sanaa describes first night of air strikes, and how things have changed over the past month.

I will never forget that night the air strikes started. In the early hours of the morning, we were jostled out of bed to the sounds of explosions. We didn't know what was happening. I made a few calls, to family and friends, and I found out that this was the beginning of Operation Decisive Storm.

One month later, we still wake up in the morning hoping the storm has passed - but the nightmare continues.

We dared to hope that the fighting might end, when on Tuesday, it was announced that the operation would shift into a humanitarian phase. But the continued bombing in Taiz and other areas shattered all our hopes of peace.

Our lives have changed. We now run into the living room as soon as we hear any explosion or gunshots. The room is in the centre of the house, far from any windows or balconies. Every day since the fighting began, my mother has sat us together and talks to us about the importance of sticking together, and that hope is all we have: "We will come out on the other side of this crisis, you wait and see".

One month later, her messages of optimism are slowly fading. You can hear it in her voice.

Join us to stop the violence in Yemen 

Every morning brings with it the news of more civilian casualties. More than a 1000 Yemenis have already lost their lives, and almost 5,000 are injured.

One morning, it was my cousin. He was hit by shrapnel while sitting in the garden of his house. The metal ripped through his body. He's still at the hospital now, in critical condition, along with many others - mostly civilians.

The bombing is random - nowhere is safe. We thought of leaving Sana'a and relocating to my hometown. But then we found out that the fighting was there too and the villages nearby. The roads have also been targeted. Many people have been killed as they have fled from one place to another.

The economic picture in the country is now dire. Many Yemenis have been out of work for a month now cutting incomes for millions of families. Banks are shut, and the financial system is on the brink of collapse. Fuel shortages are affecting public and private transportation, and hospitals are sometimes without power for days. Also the lack of fuel has meant that water pumps are no longer working, and many families are now without clean water.

So we wait.

One month later, we are still waiting for a peace initiative to calm the situation and deliver a solution both politically and economically. At the moment, we do not know what our fate will be.

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Header image: Cars queuing for fuel in Al Masoura District, Aden.