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The Citizen Casualty of Yemen War

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December 28 |Yamanyoon

Abdullah al-Haimi walked through the wasteland, pointing out the damage at a now-closed cement plant. A warehouse here, broken beams protruding. A quarry there, littered with shrapnel.

In total, he said, the complex had been bombed 53 times in the past year and a half – all by Saudi-led coalition war planes, aided by the United States.

One strike at the main entrance killed 15 people, including an ice cream vendor outside the gate.

But for al-Haimi, a manager at the plant in western central Yemen, the greatest destruction has occurred far beyond the perimeter of the state-owned facility. The lives of the 1,500 employees, and thousands of relatives who depended on them, have been shattered.

“Those who died didn’t die alone,” he said, his voice choking as sunlight poured into a warehouse through the gaping holes left by the strikes. “We died with them.”

In Yemen, it’s not just the impoverished who are suffering. The war is also decimating the small but essential middle class, eroding the backbone of an economy that was already the region’s poorest and most dysfunctional before the violence erupted 21 months ago.

The air strikes have targeted nearly every industry, erasing countless jobs and dreams. An air, sea and land blockade by neighbouring Saudi Arabia has made fuel and food more scarce, causing prices to skyrocket in a nation that imports 90 per cent of its food and medicine. A banking crisis has added to the turmoil, leaving government workers unpaid and harming businesses.

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