The Disabled Is Not an Exception from the Saudi To-Target List in Yemen
Damage to the disabled as a result of the Saudi-led coalition and siege is not limited to losses of resources and the warplanes targeting infrastructure of the institutions of the disabled, the US-backed coalition left thousands with disabilities.
In the course of reading the map of the disabled Yemeni civilians as a result of the Saudi-led coalition, which deliberately targets the population centers and civilian targets, we face major massacres that were more cruel and barbaric. Such war crimes have boosted the number of civilians handicapped.
The most important of these massacres was the bombing conducted by the US-backed coalition on Attan mountain using a MOAB bomb on April 20th of 2015. Its destruction and injury spread over seven square kilometers, an area inhabited by residential areas that were crowded with people during the strike.
MOAB or the thermobaric weapon left a large number of wounded civilians, most of them permanently disabled; either visually, auditory or neurologically. They were subjected to a permanent state of panic as a result of psychological trauma. A number of them amputated limbs as the fragments and rocks of the blast spread to populated residential areas.
The second criminal incident was the bombing of the Grand Hall, “Al-Kobra’a Hall”, in the capital Sana’a, October 10th. Only these two massacres, out of countless others, subjected “more than a thousand of the victims to disability.”
Of the 1000 disabled, there are 40 leading figures of Yemen that witnessed amputation of limbs. There are more major massacres, such as Sanaban wedding ceremony massacre, Al-Mazraq Camp war crime, Indian’s neighborhood crime, Mastaba local market crime, and so many others. However, one of the most prominent war crimes is that the Saudi-led coalition and the ongoing siege paralyzed the capacities of official institutions and stopped most civil organizations working in the field of care for the disabled.
The report of the Fund for the Welfare of the Disabled confirms funding about 125 associations working with persons with disabilities in different governorates of the Republic, but it was mostly interrupted by the ongoing Saudi-led war as well as the result of the cessation of income of the Fund.
All associations and physiotherapy centers working for people with disabilities have stopped operating in most governorates. About 32 associations and a natural treatment center in Taiz stopped working, which is the total number of associations and centers working for people with disabilities and that were supported and funded by the Fund.
Twelve societies and centers in Shabwa and Abyan have stopped functioning because of the Saudi-led war. In addition, the associations working for people with disabilities who had been supported by the Fund in Dhale governorate also had the same fate of closure and a number of associations and physiotherapy centers working for people with disabilities have recently returned to Aden. The associations and centers working with people with disabilities in Marib, Saada, Jawf have also almost entirely stopped operating.
The Executive Director of the Fund for the Care of the Disabled, Engineer Mohammed Abdullah Al-Dailami, confirmed in the context of this investigative report: that the Fund received during the past three years about 10 thousand new disabilities as a result of the Saudi American war and left most of them having amputated limbs.
He pointed out that this figure does not reflect the magnitude of the disaster as much as it only reflects what has been registered officially. There are doubled numbers that could not reach the fund due to economic, geographical and health reasons, not to mention the social reasons that make the Yemeni family reluctant to pay their wounds, who have become permanently disabled to the pastoral and human rights, especially in these circumstances.
“Like other Yemeni civilians, people with disabilities in Yemen have been subjected to random bombardments in the capital Sana’a and several governments, and because they can not migrate and move like others, they are at risk of death and serious injuries. The war has produced new handicapped people from various parts of Yemen, most of them unarmed civilians,” he said.
“Their infrastructure and specialized centers were also subjected to direct bombardment, as was the case with the Al Noor Center for the Blind, which was surrounded by homes of citizens, schools and Mother’s Hospital for Motherhood and Childhood in the district of Al-Safia in the capital Sana’a. The center was bombarded with two rockets, one exploded and the other did not explode. A number of blind people residing in the center were wounded while the building was severely damaged,” he added.
“There are other buildings with special needs that have been damaged, which means that the aggression on Yemen has caused a major and unprecedented setback for people with disabilities at various levels,” he stressed.
“The Fund faces major challenges, especially the gap between the number of applicants who are constantly increasing, with insufficient revenues allocated to the Fund, which fell to record levels. The brutal aggression destroyed a number of factories and institutions on which the Fund relied. This made the Fund unable to buy many kinds of medicines that the Fund has been disbursing tens of thousands of cases registered to it,” Al-Dailami confirmed.
“Despite the poor financial situation of the Disabled Welfare Fund due to the aggression and siege on Yemen, which reflected negatively on its revenues, it continues to provide its services in various fields of social welfare, rehabilitation and institutional training in accordance with the objectives set forth in its law. The cost of its operating expenses, including the health services provided by the Fund to persons with disabilities, covers bone and limb operations, ophthalmology, corneal transplantation and lens fitting, brain fluid suction, essential and urgent drugs, diagnostic tests, providing physiotherapy and its accessories, and other health services, as well as early intervention to reduce the prevalence of disability through early surgery,” he mentioned.
He emphasized that the Fund is the only official incubator for persons with disabilities in Yemen. It supports this important segment of society at both the individual and institutional levels. The Fund also provides educational services for persons with disabilities with various types of disabilities and in different stages of education, including higher education and academic institutions.
He also pointed out that, “the number of beneficiaries of the services of the Fund for the care and rehabilitation of the disabled at the end of last year amounted to about 150 thousand beneficiaries .. pointing out that the Fund branches in five Yemeni governorates provide services for persons with disabilities and the Fund provides services for all persons with disabilities from different governorates of the Republic. The Fund does not ask the disabled person of his or her geographical, political or any other type of affiliation. As long as the person who has reached the Fund is disabled, the service due to him shall be provided in accordance with the possibilities of the Fund and the available resources.”
Assistant Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood stressed that more than 50% of the wounded and the new disabled were not registered in the capital or governorates because of the stubbornness of Yemeni society and its insistence on survival and recovery without the need of anyone under these conditions, many people do not report disability cases to the competent authorities.
“The situation is that many of the injured from this group have developed into permanent hearing or visual impairment, paralysis or amputation. The announced numbers we hear about are not the final results,” he said.
Moreover, he pointed out that, “the preliminary results of accurate studies of the effects of Saudi-led coalition and weapons used in the war on Yemen confirm the existence of congenital malformations in the children of the previous three years, not to mention the health implications that will be revealed by the future according to a more specialized scientific vision.”
“What concerns us is the statement of the current evidence that the new congenital handicaps will be added to the millions of civilian disabled persons because of the internationally prohibited weapons used in the unprecedented war of aggression on Yemen,” he confirmed.
Despite the fact that Yemen is a signatory to the international conventions and protocols relating to the persons with disabilities, the international community represented by the United Nations – in terms of those with special needs – has not reacted to the increase in the number of victims of disability due to war. The UN also did not take any action regarding the targeting of their headquarters, including the Noor Center for the Blind in the capital Sana’a, which was targeted on 5 January 2016.
With this complicity and international silence, the international media did not lose independent free voices, which rejected all temptations, warning the countries of the alliance against Yemen against the repercussions of the tragic scene of the Yemeni people in general and the segment of people with special needs in particular. Whereas civilian organizations and international media outlets warned of the danger of the continuation of massacres of genocide in Yemen, stressing that the alarming indicators among the civilians doubled the numbers of Yemeni disabled civilians, women and children.
An international report published by Deutsche Welle at the end of last year on the suffering of people with special needs said that the number of people left behind by the war is similar to that of the Gulf countries, pointing out that the war has left about 92 thousand disabled people and that the wars and conflicts witnessed in this country In the past years caused the increase in the number of disabled, based on what he described as modest estimates, to more than 3 million and 700 thousand disabled from movement.
He stressed that some international organizations are still making good efforts in this area, and the data of the International Committee of the Red Cross lists approximately 25,400 disabled persons benefiting from the support it provided for the year of 2016, of which 12,800 received normal treatment, and 5,977 patients benefited from orthopedic devices.