In mid-September 2018, the Kilo 16 road, linking the cities of Hodeidah and Sana’a, was bombed by coalition warplanes, as a result of which a number of travelers were killed. Luckily, Abdullah Al-Hakami’s family, who fled the battles in Hodeida, miraculously escaped death, although shrapnel from the bombing penetrated the bus that was taking them and one of the shrapnel left their eleven-year-old son, Osama, disabled.
During his talk to "Khuyut", his father remembers the painful incident, as the wounded were taken to a hospital close to the bombing, and the doctors told Abdullah Al-Hakami of the necessity of amputating the right leg of his son Osama. The decision was difficult, but its implementation is important in order to save the child's life. Thus, Osama's foot was amputated, and the displaced child with his family in Sana'a continued to suffer physical and psychological pain as a result of the amputation.
Abdullah Al-Hakami says: "My son used to walk with crutches and refuse to go to school because of his fear of being harassed by his peers. He was an introverted person and did not accept discussion."
Osama remained for two years, suffering from the psychological repercussions of his leg amputation, until one of the people near their residence suggested to his father that Osama need to get a prosthesis for his right leg instead of the foot he had lost.
Osama visits the limb center from time to time in order to inspect and maintain his prosthetic limb, but he complains about his classmates' mockery of him when they know that he is walking on a prosthetic foot, which causes him psychological suffering that the war was the key reason behind it.
This idea won the child’s approval, but he faced obstacles that prevented him from obtaining the prosthetic limb, as his father did not possess the cost of the prosthetic limb, which ranges between 180 to 240 thousand Yemeni riyals in the centers for the manufacture of limbs, so Al-Hakami could hardly pay the rental of the house that he rents it in Sana'a, and provides a living for his family, which consists of his wife and four children.
Al-Hakami tried to get a financial reduction in the cost of the prosthetic limb for his son. He did not know that there were government agencies that were providing financial assistance to people with disabilities, including the Handicap Care & Rehabilitation Fund. The Governmental Limb and Physiotherapy Center in Sana’a states that the fund will cover the entire financial costs of the prosthetic limb.
The journey of installing the prosthesis for the child Osama began after taking the required measurements and then starting to manufacture it, which took a period of two weeks. After fixing the limb, Osama was receiving training to walk it, and psychological sessions were provided to him by an international organization concerned with people with disabilities working in partnership with the government center.
His father, Abdullah Al-Hakami, says: "My son Osama's adaptation to walking with the prosthesis was difficult. I used to motivate him along with his mother. Thank God, today Osama can go to school with his prosthetic foot."
From time to time, Osama visits the Limb Center in order to check and maintain his prosthetic limb. However, he complains about his classmates’ mockery of him when they learn that he is walking on a prosthetic foot, which causes him psychological suffering which the war is key responsible of it.
The Governmental Handicap Care & Rehabilitation Fund in Sana’a is visited by many children who have been subjected to various types of disabilities due to the war, but the Fund cannot meet the needs of all the disabled due to the scarcity of financial means, and the reluctance of some commercial establishments to continue their support for the projects and activities of the Fund, which was established in 1999, with the aim of helping the disabled and reduce the negative effects of disability.
As in the case of various government institutions after the Ansar Allah group (Houthis) took control of the capital, Sana'a in 2015, the Handicap Care & Rehabilitation Fund was divided into two funds; the first in Sana'a is under the control of the Ansar Allah authority (Houthis), and the other in Aden is under the control of the internationally recognized Yemeni government, a problem that has had a negative impact on persons with disabilities.
Speaking to "Khuyut", the Deputy Executive Director of the Handicap Care & Rehabilitation Fund in Sana'a, Othman Al-Selwi, indicated that children are the most affected by the ongoing war in Yemen, in addition to the fact that the war has caused new disabilities among children and others.
Restrictions and shortcomings
There are no accurate statistics on the number of children who have been exposed to various disabilities since the beginning of the war, but the National Union of Yemeni Disabled Associations indicated that the war has caused many problems and obstacles for the disabled, perhaps the most prominent of which are causing more disabilities to thousands of people. Additionally, the scarcity and reduction of financial resources of Handicap Care & Rehabilitation Fund, through which one million disabled people received their education, rehabilitation, training and the costs of their treatments. Moreover, many associations, federations and rehabilitation and training centers for persons with disabilities have been affected in all Yemeni governorates.
Meanwhile, the war imposed more restrictions on the freedom of movement and transportation of persons with disabilities which is an inherent human right to freedom of movement and travel, through the closure of Sana’a Airport which caused a doubling of the daily burdens for many persons with disabilities who have been suffering from the lack of sources of income after the Central Bank was transferred to Aden and the interruption of salaries and social security wages for several years.
In a report issued by Amnesty International, the organization said, "Local and international organizations operating in Yemen should collect and compile better disaggregated data on all the diverse persons with disabilities they are caring for. The report emphasized that persons with disabilities shall be directly involved in the preparation and delivery of aid and ensuring their right to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
In a briefing on the United Nations News website, Yemeni activist Rajaa Abdullah Al-Masabi, Chairwoman of the Arab Foundation for Human Rights, said that "the ongoing war in the country has had a great impact on people with disabilities, noting the high number of people who have been disabled by the war, especially children." ", calling on the Security Council to include the issue of persons with disabilities in any statement or resolution it issues regarding Yemen.