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A shelter made in the ground on distance from the houses in Rahban, the area on the outskirts of Sa’dah city.
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A man stands in a shelter dug in the ground in Rahban, on the outskirts of Saada City, the Houthi stronghold where the rebel movement was founded in northern Yemen, Aug. 26, 2015.Maria Turchenkova
A shelter made in the ground on distance from the houses in Rahban, the area on the outskirts of Sa’dah city.
Destroyed mud-bricks ancient building in Rahban, the area on the outskirts of Sa’dah city. Most of the houses in the area included on Yemen’s World Heritage Tentative List, were destroyed by several Saudi-led airstrikes in May, 2015.
As war raged on in Yemen in March 2015 hundred thousands civilians fled their hometowns, moving out of cities targeted by Saudi-led airstrikes and moving towards remote areas in the mountains or desert. Latifa, Amat, Swsan and their children are IDPs from the villages next to the border with Saudi Arabia, they found refuge in Alaf Valley, in the mountains of Sa’dah province, being hosted in a school in Fella village. Here they still don’t feel safe, every time they hear the sounds of airstrikes or antiaircraft warfare from across the mountains, the women run to a shelter made in the ground at the outskirts of the village. They do it every day for the last three months, sometimes spending the night in this shelter.
Latifa, Amat, Swsan and their children are IDPs from the villages next to the border with Saudi Arabia, they found refuge in Alaf Valley, in the mountains of Sa’dah province, being hosted in a school in Fella village. Here they still don’t feel safe, every time they hear the sounds of airstrikes or antiaircraft warfare from over the mountains, the women run to a shelter made in the ground at the outskirts of the village. They do it every day for the past four months, sometimes spending the night in this shelter.
The evening view of the city of Hajjah. Northern provinces of Yemen stay without electricity. As the infrastructure was destroyed in the first days of war, the fuel generators and solar batteries became the only sources of electricity. With the fuel crisis deepening in the country, most of the civilians in the remote areas stay with no access to the electricity sources.
Abdul Bassat, 12, stands at the place where the house of his aunt used to be. His neighbourhood of mud-briks ancient buildings in Rahban, the area on the outskirts of Sa’dah city was destroyed by several Saudi-led airstrikes in May, 2015. Sa’dah province is the stronghold of the Houthi insurgency movement in Yemen, which emerged here in 2004. In 2004-2010 it experienced six wars launched by the Ali Abdullah Saleh government against the Houthi rebels. Rahban area, as well as old Sa’dah city, are included on Yemen’s World Heritage Tentative List.
Locals seen on the edge of the bridge, destroyed by airstrike in May 2015 in Sa’dah province, North of Yemen.
Locals show the destroyed civilian area near a military compound in Hajjah city, which was hit by an airstrike on May, 31 2015 causing 5 civilian casualties.
Destroyed check-point at the entrance of Sa’dah province.
On the road to Hajjah.
A shelter made in the ground on distance from the houses in Rahban, the area on the outskirts of Sa’dah city.
IDPs from the city of Harad react as they hear the sound of an airplane above the Shub Adusha camp, Hajjah governorate.
Displaced people in Al Majoura camp.According to MSF classification, the camp has the “food and humanitarian emergency” level, which is the last level before “food and humanitarian catastrophe”. There are no food supplies for 6 months, what caused the high level of malnutrition cases among children.
Aziz, 11 is an IDP in Beni Hassan camp in Hajjah province. In March 2015 he became among those  injured during the air strike by the Saudi-led coalition at a camp for internal refugees Al Mazraq, when at least 40 people were killed and  about 200 wounded. He As there is no food supplied in the IDP camps for 6 months he can eat only what his mother begged for him during the day, what caused severe malnutrition and put a hight threat to his life.
Displaced people in Al Majoura camp.According to MSF classification, the camp has the “food and humanitarian emergency” level, which is the last level before “food and humanitarian catastrophe”. There are no food supplies for 6 months, water is provided by MSF makes 20 leters a day per person, which is not enouth with the emount of every day newcomers and hard weather conditions, as the camp is in the desert.
Locals seen standing on the rubble of a building destroyed by a Saudi airstrike in Amran, 50 km from Sa’ana. 11 civilians were killed.
Children IDPs from Sa’dah sing songs about their homeland while they found refuge in a school in Sa’ana fleeing the war. Their families fled hometown as soon as Sa’dah was declared a military area. To flee they had to find four trucks for 18 families, and pay 250000 Yemeni Rials for each, because of the fuel crisis. The women of the families sold their gold, cell phones, jambiyas (traditional knifes) and weapons of their families to pay for the road.
Houthi militants perform a war dance called Baraa, during the rally in Sa’ana, Yemen.
A man stands in a shelter dug in the ground in Rahban, on the outskirts of Saada City, the Houthi stronghold where the r
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Maria Turchenkova
1 of 19

Bearing Witness to the Victims of Yemen's 'Forgotten War'

Oct 15, 2015

With much of the Middle East in turmoil, Russian photojournalist Maria Turchenkova might have taken her camera to any number of warzones. But the story she felt she needed to tell was in Yemen, where years of conflict have precipitated one of the worst humanitarian crises in the entire region.

Turchenkova’s photographs, which appear in the international edition of TIME this week, focus on the impact on civilians of what some are describing as a "forgotten war" in Yemen. The most recent cycle of violence began when the Houthis, a Shi’ite religious minority long at odds with the government, ousted President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi in March. Within days, a coalition of Arab countries led by Yemen’s northern neighbor Saudi Arabia launched a campaign of airstrikes on Houthi positions. The conflict has been widely interpreted as an attempt by Sunni leaders to strike a blow against Iran, the Shi'ite powerhouse accused of backing the Houthis with supplies and arms.

But the geopolitical ramifications of this Sunni-Shi'ite proxy war are likely of little concern to the ordinary Yemenis caught in the crossfire. Over 2,000 civilians have died since March; some killed when coalition planes bombed marketplaces and weddings, others by landmines said to have been laid by Houthi forces. Many, many more have been forced from their homes. The United Nations now estimates 1.4 million displaced people in Yemen, and millions more without reliable access to food and water. Eight in 10 Yemenis are in need of some kind of humanitarian assistance. The question of who is to blame doesn't matter much to these multitudes, Turchenkova says. "You don't hear people so much discussing politics. Food and water are their primary concern."

Turchenkova visited the country in August and travelled from the capital of Sana'a to the northern Hajjah governate, where the country's largest camps for refugees and displaced people are located. Blockades of the southern ports by coalition forces have cut supplies to the north, meaning aid agencies now face a three-month fuel shortfall and shortages of staple food items. Conditions are getting desperate; in the Al Majoura camp a few miles from the Saudi Arabian border, a Medecins Sans Frontieres worker told her the camp was at a “food and humanitarian emergency” level, the last level before “food and humanitarian catastrophe.”

The experience of working in the camps was harrowing, she says. "There have been no food supplies since the beginning of the war. There are hundreds of women and children on the roads, going from house to house begging for what they can get to eat, or drink." Arriving at the camps even from the city was a little like "coming down to hell," she says. "You can hardly breathe. The temperature is more than 40 degrees celsius, it's dusty.... I managed to work for 90 minutes and I was exhausted... I couldn't allow myself to drink water or to send my driver for water because I was embarrassed to do this in front of people who hadn't seen cold water for weeks or months. This is their everyday life."

She says her driver and translator, provided by the Yemeni Ministry of Intelligence, couldn't understand why she wanted to focus on the human impact rather than simply the infrastructure and historic buildings destroyed. "I have no interest in the war stuff," she says. "I just want to show the people... It took a lot of energy to explain that, to say: 'Look this situation exists.'"

Turchenkova is one of very few journalists to document the humanitarian crisis in Yemen's north, a distinction which she says bring special responsibilities. "It is one of the toughest stories I have ever covered," she says. "I brought away a small, small part of this story, which can now be told."

Maria Turchenkova is a documentary photographer based in Moscow, Russia.

Alice Gabriner, who edited this photo essay, is TIME’s International Photo Editor.

Dan Stewart is a news editor at TIME.com

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