Inside War Ravaged Yemen • Lorenzo Meloni • Magnum Photos

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Inside War Ravaged Yemen

As the deadly civil war and complex political situation worsened in 2015, Lorenzo Meloni documented the situation on the ground in the ancient cities of Yemen

Lorenzo Meloni

Lorenzo Meloni | Inside War Ravaged Yemen A group of fighters loyal to Sheik Ali Aiyedh inside his destroyed house. Mathbah district, Sanaa, Yemen. September 8, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos

September, 2015. Yemen is being devastated by bombs. Sana’a, the capital, declared a world heritage site by UNESCO, is affected by the raids organized by the Saudi-led coalition on a daily basis. Many of the villages in the north, and in particular the city of Sadaa, considered strongholds of Ansar Allah (Houthis), are now destroyed.

Lorenzo Meloni | Inside War Ravaged Yemen The German hospital destroyed by an airstrike carried out by the Saudi Arabian-led coalition. Mothalath A’ahim, Yemen. September 9, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos
Lorenzo Meloni | Inside War Ravaged Yemen An Ansar Allah (Houthi) representative during a press meeting at the Sheba Hotel. Sanaa, Yemen. September 7, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos

For five days, with the help of Murthada, a descendant of the Imam Ali, and a minder of the Houthi government appointed to examine my every shot, I documented the consequences of the bombing of the Saudi-led coalition on the Yemeni population and its infrastructure. Looking at the ruins, it seems obvious that the coalition, supported by the West and by the international community, is intentionally bombing and killing civilians using American and European weapons.

Lorenzo Meloni | Inside War Ravaged Yemen An airstrike on the road carried out by the Saudi Arabian-led coalition. Hajja governatorate, Yemen. September 9, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos

Because of the siege, medical supplies and basic necessities cannot reach the civilians. Hospitals, which were in a state of disrepair before the conflict, are now overflowing with wounded people who cannot be treated. The morgues have no more room to accommodate victims and bodies dismembered by bombs which are therefore stacked one on top of the other. The raids of the Saudi-led coalition constantly hit densely populated areas, terrorizing, destroying and killing. Over 1.5 million people have had to leave their homes and move into dilapidated refugee camps, with virtually no support from international organizations.

Lorenzo Meloni | Inside War Ravaged Yemen Refugee from Saada with serious health problems due to conditions in the refugee camp. Hajja governatorate, Yemen. September 9, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos
Lorenzo Meloni Adam Mujahid Abdullah, the only survivor from an airstrike in the burn injuries unit of the Republic Hospital. Sanaa, Yemen. September 7, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos
Lorenzo Meloni Given the high number of daily deaths the morgue is full, and bodies are piled up. The Republic Hospital, Sanaa, Yemen. September 7, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos
Lorenzo Meloni Inside Al Joraiza school that now hosts 383 refugees mainly from Saada, a young widow from the Farhan family. Sanaa, Yemen. September 8, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are exploiting the chaos caused by the conflict, expanding their control over large areas of the country. More specifically, they have organized suicide attacks in places of worship in the areas under the control of Ansar Allah, accusing them of being apostates, because they follow Zaidism, a sect of Shia Islam.

Lorenzo Meloni | Inside War Ravaged Yemen A funeral in the cemetery of al Alhashoosh mosque for Ali Sharafuddeen, 27, killed in a suicide bomb and Abdulmalik Almotawaqil, a fighter from Amran. Sanaa, Yemen. September 11, 2015 © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos

Today Western analysts urge us to ask ourselves what this war is really about. Is it a new conflict between Sunnis and Shiites? A proxy war between Iran and a coalition of Sunni countries? Or are we witnessing a strategic war to obtain the control of the Strait of Bab al Mandab, where most of the oil tankers pass directed towards the West? Meanwhile, because of a war sponsored by the West, millions of families are forced to flee their homes to seek refuge, which they will certainly not find in one of the Arabic Gulf Countries. – Lorenzo Meloni

Lorenzo Meloni | Inside War Ravaged Yemen International Airport. A military transport aircraft destroyed by an airstrike carried out by Saudi Arabian-led coalition. Sanaa, Yemen. September 11, 2015. © Lorenzo Meloni | Magnum Photos