Feature: Yemeni graffiti artists draw pains of displaced families who fled Hodeidah battles

Source: Xinhua| 2018-08-18 22:36:13|Editor: yan
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by Mohamed al-Azaki

SANAA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni young street artists continue the struggle for peace, painting more walls in the capital Sanaa to highlight tragedy of the internally displaced families who fled battles in Hodeidah.

This time, the artists choose a wall on a busy street in the western part of Sanaa, which links the main highway to the country's Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

"Today, we launch a campaign to highlight the suffering of displaced families," graffiti artist Samid al-Samiey told Xinhua.

On June 13, the Yemeni government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition began a major offensive to retake Hodeidah city from rebels, known as Houthis allied with Iran. The war has since raging on and around the city.

More than 300,000 people have been displaced from the city since early June, according to a recent report by the United Nations humanitarian agencies. This figure equates to more than 5,500 people each day and more than 40,000 each week.

"The Eid festival (Muslim Eid al-Adha holidays which was set to begin on Aug. 21) is approaching, while the displaced families have been suffering from worse situations," al-Samiey said as he held paintbrush drawing a heartbreaking image.

The United Nations is trying to mediate for a peace solution to end the country's more than three years of war.

The UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths said last week that the Yemeni rival parties would meet next month in Geneva to resume peace talks, which would focus on avert Hodeidah from deadly war, as well as disarmament and transitional governance deal.

The artist al-Samiey said he has a message to the rival parties in Geneva that "thousands were killed, hundreds of thousands were displaced, and it is enough."

His colleague Maysa al-Absy said she came along with five university girls to take part in this street graffiti campaign.

"We first discussed the idea in the social media, then we set time and place. Today we came with our paintbrush, painting to help draw attention to the suffers of those displaced families who live among us," al-Absy said.

"There are a silent starvation killing thousands of families and children, the internally displaced families in particular," she added.

The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, with about 3 million others displaced from across the country.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since the Houthi rebels overran much of Yemen and seized all northern provinces in late 2014, including the capital Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in the Yemeni war in 2015 to support the government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

"Our message to the world and to the Yemeni rival parties is that help us end this horrible war," al-Absy said.