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Transcending the Life of Displacement towards Stability

A woman in a black outfit standing in small shop

Sahar Abdo in her shack, part of which she has turned into a small grocery store. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

Sahar Abdo in her shack, part of which she has turned into a small grocery store. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

The prolonged conflict in Yemen has devastated the country, destroyed livelihoods and left Yemenis facing a catastrophic humanitarian crisis. Many families have fled violence numerous times, looking for safety and a source of income. During the last six years, nearly four million Yemenis were forced to make the difficult decision of leaving behind their homes, as well as their possessions and livelihoods, and starting over again.

Sahar Abdo Ahmed is a 33-year-old internally displaced mother of four children from Zabid district, Hodeidah governorate in Yemen. Like many, she fled her home to seek safety in Zangbar district- Abyan governorate in Yemen due to the war that has been raging the country since 2015. “One night as we were sleeping peacefully, shells started falling on our village without any warning. We were terrified. With the clothes on our backs, we escaped and headed to Abyan governorate. We left everything we had, livestock, possessions, hard-to-earn assets, etc. and decided to save our lives,” says Sahar while reminiscing about the unforgettable night for her and all the locals in her village.

The journey of Sahar and her family was tiring and difficult. “Our house was destroyed and our livestock was killed. We lost everything we had been collecting for years,” she adds. She and her family reached Abyan governorate and started to look for an accommodation. Since they can’t afford renting a house, they live in a hut made of tree branches. Sahar and her husband started to work by collecting firewood and selling it to secure an income for the family, yet it was not enough to end the family’s suffering.

A man and woman standing in front of a donkey in a rural setting.
Anisa Abdo with her husband next to their hut. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

“I cry every night because my children sleep with empty stomachs, and it is even more difficult to hear them moaning in pain and I can’t help them,” says Anisa Abdo, a 38-year-old internally displaced mother of five. She suffers from a chronic trauma of displacement while living in Khanifr district- Abyan governorate. What makes their lives worse is the chronic illness of her two daughters, and her inability to treat them and provide them with the needed medications and food.

A woman holding a baby and a small girl standing beside her next to a goat shed
Hafida Youssef with her children next to her hut. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

“When we arrived in Abyan governorate, we didn’t have anything in terms of life necessities,” says Hafida Youssef, a 46-year-old internally displaced mother of six. She like many among the civilian population in Yemen continues to bear the brunt of the conflict, which is now in its seventh year.

Through the UNFPA-led multi-agency Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM), CARE continues to scale up response efforts and help all newly displaced people in Abyan governorate with lifesaving emergency packages. All newly internally displaced families receive a standard relief package that includes ready-to-eat food, basic hygiene materials and a female transit kit. Such a response to the new arrivals of displaced families is critical to ease their suffering, but though it provides instant relief to displaced families that have endured so much, more sustainable solutions must be found.

“The assistance came at the right time after we lost hope. Prior to the intervention, we used to have one meal, but now we eat three meals.” Sahar adds, “To have a source of income, we bought basic foodstuffs and started a grocery store business.”

“Thanks to CARE, I received food and started thinking of looking for sources of income and resilience.” Anisa found a chance to work in farms on daily wages and was able to buy a cart and a donkey for her husband to work in transporting goods in the nearest market. “I feel relieved and calm now. My husband earns from his work on transporting goods in the market,” Anisa concludes.

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