Al-Hodeidah, the Yemeni governorate most affected by Houthi mines

English - Tuesday 30 May 2023 الساعة 06:15 pm
Hodeidah, NewsYemen, exclusive:

The number of civilian victims of mines and explosive devices planted by the Houthi militia - the Iranian arm in Yemen - in Al-Hodeidah Governorate (west of the country) is increasing daily, and the victims are often women and children.

Al-Hodeidah is the most contaminated Yemeni governorate with Houthi mines and explosives, as it has claimed the lives of thousands of civilians since the start of the war, which the Houthi militia ignited by seizing Yemeni state institutions in September 2014.

Warnings of the Houthi mine disaster have increased, with civilian casualties continuing, as an issue that haunts the lives of millions of Yemenis and threatens their present and future.

In its latest report to the Security Council, the United Nations Group of International Experts addressed the mine disaster in Yemen and said: "The indiscriminate and systematic use of landmines poses a constant threat to the civilian population."

General Michael Beary, head of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA), announced in a message coinciding with the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness on the fourth of last April, that the first quarter of the year 2023 witnessed more than 100 civilian casualties as a result of mines in Hodeidah Governorate.

Perry expressed his sadness at the enormity of the danger facing the population in the future, as he said: "It is very sad to think that there are unborn fetuses who will suffer from this scourge in the coming years."

According to the update of the United Nations Mine Action Mission on February 6, in 2022, 289 civilian casualties were recorded as a result of landmines, while 111 civilian casualties were recorded in 2021 from the people of Hodeidah Governorate, most of whom were women and children.

The Saudi project "Masam", which is affiliated with the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Action, which specializes in clearing Yemeni lands from mine dangers, announced the extraction of 400,000 four hundred thousand mines and explosives during the 5 years that is the period of its work in Yemen.

With the fall of seasonal rains and the flow of torrents into the reefs and medicines, which cause part of these bodies to be exposed, Masam explained at the beginning of this May that Team Masam No. 26 began to intervene to clear a minefield found by two children while they were grazing a herd of sheep from the remnants of the Houthi militia in the district Hays, south of Hodeidah.

The Yemeni Landmine Monitor, in a statement on Twitter at the beginning of last February, warned of the danger of the Houthi camouflaged explosive devices to the lives of civilians in Hodeidah, pointing out that they caused the death and injury of dozens.

 He added that the Houthi militia had planted camouflaged devices in the form of stones stuffed with high explosives, "that work with multiple techniques, as they can be detonated by pedaling, remote control, or by means of a thermal camera equipped with them."

The Human Rights Observatory called on citizens not to deal with any suspicious objects and to report them.

According to human rights reports, Yemen witnessed the largest mine-laying operation since the end of World War II, and the Houthi militia mastered its manufacture, benefiting from Iranian expertise.

 It is noteworthy that the terrorist Houthi militia refuses to hand over maps of the mines and explosive devices that it planted extensively and indiscriminately prior to its defeat from the southern districts of Al-Hodeidah Governorate, which caused the death and injury of many civilians, which are increasing day by day.

While the UN mission remains unable to take measures to stop the bloodshed and prevent the continuation of harming innocent victims by pressuring the Houthi militia to remove mines or hand over maps of minefields and networks so that residents can return to their homes and live in peace and security.

Only the UN mission is satisfied with calling for the necessity of taking urgent humanitarian measures related to mines and providing international support for mine clearance efforts in Hodeidah, which remains the most affected governorate by explosive remnants of war, due to the restrictions it causes on freedom of movement and livelihood activities for the local population for fear of its deadly dangers.

Despite the efforts made and the successes achieved by the "Masam" project and the engineering of the joint forces in dismantling and removing huge numbers of fields, mine networks, explosive devices and explosives, which enabled many residents to return to their homes and farms, it still poses a great challenge and a mortal danger that threatens the people and residents of this stricken governorate and deepened its wounds are faced by the silence and inaction of the international community, which is aligned with a bloody and terrorist group.