Clearing 25 farms... Houthi mines kill life on the West Coast

English - Wednesday 15 March 2023 الساعة 05:34 pm
Hodeidah, NewsYemen, exclusive:

 The Iranian-backed Houthi militia has transformed agricultural lands in many Yemeni governorates, especially the western coast, from vibrant lands into barren and minefields that claim the lives of civilians, including farmers and other road users.

Many farmers who were forced into forced displacement by the Houthi militia and left their lands and agricultural equipment worth millions of riyals, and after the return of many after the joint forces liberated their areas, they were received by Houthi mines to increase the bitterness of suffering and deprivation and end dreams of returning to normal life.

A number of displaced people returning to their villages in the countryside of Hays and the areas of the western coast and the Tihami plain decided to reclaim their lands in order to start agricultural activity, unaware of the extent of the danger and the disaster that exists under the soil of their lands.

Farmers fell prey to Houthi mines, which were planted randomly and brutally on their lands without any religious or moral scruples.  Those dangerous bodies caused great losses among the farmers, some of whom died and some of them became disabled, incapacitated and immobile without any guilt.

Fields spreading death

 Munir Qulayb, in the prime of his youth, from the Bab al-Lafaj area, north of the city of Hays, returned to his farm, which was deprived of its good for years because of the Houthi war.  While he was working on his land and reclaiming it, he was surprised by a landmine planted by terrorist militias. 

The mine exploded, causing the amputation of his left hand. The young man, who aspired to return to life, became disabled and unable to work, after his land turned into a frightening field that spreads death.

The young man "Munir" bears the suffering of grief, as he is the only breadwinner for his family, and he spoke to "Newsyemen" in a painful tone: "The Houthis, instead of planting vegetables, planted death for us in our lands. I lost part of my body (my hand) and I cannot work on my land after my disability."  

He adds, lamenting the disability that will accompany him for life, saying: "I am now disabled, and the Houthis have destroyed my future. I am in the prime of my youth working in agriculture and supporting my family and children." 

He concluded his speech: "With this suffering, no organization or government agency paid any attention to us. They are supposed to give us a salary or anything to support our families, we have become a victim of this war and no one feels our suffering."

A life-threatening nightmare

 After the recurrence of mine incidents and the increasing number of casualties in the liberated areas, farmers are afraid of returning to their farms and lands because of the amount of mines planted by the Houthi militia before fleeing from those areas that were previously controlled, in the south of Hodeidah.

 Although the engineering teams of the joint forces and the teams of the Saudi Masam project achieved great success in the various liberated areas, and were able to recover millions of mines, explosive devices and unexploded ordnance that were planted by militias in vast areas of the western coast.

However, these Houthi mines still constitute a nightmare that haunts the lives of thousands of civilians, especially in the recently liberated areas south of Hodeidah and west of Taiz.  Life began again after the removal of mines and the clearing of roads, farms and residential neighborhoods.

new beginning

 The village of Beit Bish, north of Hays, which was at the forefront of the front and a line of fire with the Houthi militia, as these terrorist militias booby-trapped all its homes and farms and deployed many networks of mines and explosives with the aim of killing life and thwarting any efforts to restore it.

After liberating and securing it in November 2021, the engineering teams embarked on a massive purification process to extract the Houthi death thorns and secure the return of the displaced families to it.

Today, the village has become almost completely insured, and the people have returned to their homes and agricultural lands. Life has begun again after the village was a scary and deserted place due to mines that threatened every living thing.

 A number of people told "Newsyemen": At the beginning of our return, life was scary, and our movement was limited and precise, and we could not even go to our agricultural lands, which is a major source of income to provide for a living.  Repeated accidents suffered by children, women and men on their farms, but after the entry of the engineering teams and the start of the process of purifying and removing the Houthi death fields, we gradually began to return to our lives and our agricultural lands became vibrant again, and today we reap from the purified lands various types of grain.

Clearing 250 farms

 In late February, the Saudi Project for Mine Clearance in Yemen (Masam) announced the return of life to more than 250 farms on the western coast, after they were cleared of mines from the Houthi coup militia.

 Engineer Sami Saeed Himad, commander of Team 26 Masam, stated that his team worked in the liberated districts in Al-Hodeidah Governorate, mainly in Al-Khawkhah and Hays, stressing that Al-Hodeidah suffered as an agricultural, grazing and hunting area from the scourge of mines a lot, as the livelihoods of civilians in these areas were disrupted due to the large number and indiscriminate mines.  

Hamid explained that Al-Hodeidah governorate witnessed many cases of mine injuries, as about 393 people lost their lives in 2022, and Masam lost 4 martyrs and 3 wounded in 2022 in Al-Hodeidah governorate as part of his humanitarian mission in combating mines, pointing out that the humanitarian intervention of Masam teams in this governorate  Reduce the number of victims due to these treacherous canisters, and since the beginning of 2023, no cases of injury have been recorded among civilians in the areas that Masam teams managed to reach.

 Engineering teams are struggling in various agricultural lands, in a lofty message aimed at restoring life, normalizing conditions, and helping families to rise again.  

Efforts worthy of thanks to the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for its continuous support for the MASAM project in the course of its humanitarian struggle with strength and competence against mines in Yemen.

At a time when the team of the “Masam” demining project in Yemen is working at full capacity and continuing its operations to clean the country from mines planted by the Houthi coup militia, bringing the number of mines extracted since the start of its work in 2018 to about 389,706 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines, explosive devices and unexploded ordnance. 

The total cleared land amounted to 44,850,678 square metres.