Sat, 10 Dec 2022

SANAA, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- The protracted war in Yemen not only brings physical suffering to millions of children but also inflicts a kind of pain that last longer -- psychological trauma.

"Many children displayed aphasia or other symptoms of PTSD after they went through heavy bombings. They were overwhelmed by horror and fear," said Suad Al-Haimi, the director of the Al-Tahadi Association for the Disabled in the capital Sanaa.

In the rehabilitation center, dozens of children were playing. Many of them talked in sign language, while others were very shy and always tried to avoid eye contact. There are also many children who suffer from dyslexia or even intelligence disabilities because of various traumas during the war.

Haimi said she expanded the healthcare wards to accommodate more children because the longer the war lasted, the more children came for help.

"In comparison to the pre-war time, the center now has many more patients. Every day, a dozen of child victims in the conflict come here to seek help," said the Yemeni lady.

It would take a lot of work from the health staff at the center and the children's families for the children to recover from their psychological trauma, if that is possible, said Haimi, who highlighted that the injuries in the hearts are the hardest to heal.

The UN said that four out of five Yemeni children are in need of humanitarian assistance. For more than eight years, a whole new generation in Yemen has been growing up under the clouds of a ferocious civil war, which brought hunger, poverty, and unchecked epidemic diseases to every corner of the Arab country.

Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa.

The war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced 4 million, and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.

"The psychological situation of Yemen's youngsters is worrying," said Haimi, adding that what she and her rehabilitation center have done is only a drop in a bucket as there are millions of children who have to deal with the stress caused by the war.

The Al-Tahadi center is one of the few special rehabilitation centers that are still operating as the healthcare system in the war-ravaged country collapsed a long time ago.

However, its existence is now in jeopardy because raising funds is more difficult than ever. In spite of the ongoing truce between the Houthi group and the internationally-recognized government, Yemenis are still wrestling with surging prices as well as shortages in food and fuel.

"Not many people care about the psychological health of their children when they are struggling to bring bread to the table. But the wound in mind can be as painful as any," said Haimi.

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