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For some in war-torn poverty-stricken Yemen, suicide is the only relief Open in fullscreen

Khalid Al-Karimi

For some in war-torn poverty-stricken Yemen, suicide is the only relief

Yemeni man carries bundle of firewood as gas prices soar, Sanaa [Getty Images]

Date of publication: 19 June, 2017

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Finding themselves caught between the callousness of poverty and ruthlessness of war, suicide is on the rise among Yemenis writes Khalid AlKarimi

Poverty is a killer, and its callousness matches that of the war. When poverty and war meet in a nation, people tire of their existence on earth. Some choose to take their life, bidding farewell to this world’s misery.

Today, the previous lines apply to Yemen, a war-ravaged country and poverty-stricken nation in the volatile Arab world. Poverty has sabotaged the psyche of people and shattered their hopes, pushing them to opt for suicidal acts.

Early this month, a 40-year old woman in Yemen's Ibb province, intentionally swallowed poison to end her life. A Yemeni news website quoted a local source saying the woman committed suicide poisoning herself along with her two daughters aged 9 and 12.

This horrific accident is not unrelated to the psychological situation of the victim, which can be attached to her living condition. The accident reflects the extent of frustration among poor families during wartime in Yemen.

The woman who ended her life decided to give up clinging to a country surrounded by war, destruction and poverty. That was the tragic end she chose for herself and her two daughters after the husband forsook her and was no longer able to provide for the family.

"She was a modest woman who would never stretch her hand to ask for aid," the website cited a local source as saying.

This story speaks volumes of the destitute families' plight in Yemen. Even prior to the war flare-up in 2015, Yemen was struggling with employment and poverty. The conflict just came to further cement the misery at a large scale.

Last month, a high-ranking officer shot himself dead in Sanaa after several months of unpaid salaries in the country. According to a local report, Colonel Saleh Al-Sabari, committed suicide in his house in Sanaa where the impoverished families resort to rubbish to search for food.

The escalating war drives the country towards further violence, penury and diseases.

UN reports point out that 6.8 million are "one step away from famine." The consequences of these severe circumstances hurt the people and disrupt their peace of mind. With the bleak situation unchanged for months, and not looking like the end is coming any time soon, many think of fleeing. Those that cannot resign themselves to waiting for their demise by war or starvation. In some cases, some have embraced the mercy killing of themselves.

In spite of the constant aid pouring from abroad to Yemen, this aid has neither improved the livelihoods of Yemenis nor ended their suffering. The aid cannot stop the dejected spirits among poor households. The only solution now is the end of the war, promising some relief.

The Yemeni woman who decided to leave this world by the aid of the lethal poisonous dose is a vivid reminder that the living situation is unbearable for multitudes of people in Yemen. Today, some in Yemen suffer silently, think alone and end their lives, as they cannot cope with life in line with raging war.

For civilians in Yemen, they want this tragedy to cease. However, their voices are overpowered by the sounds of guns across the country. Until the war ends, it is unpredictable how many people will die of starvation, be killed by shelling, succumb to their illness, or commit suicide.

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