Tallabah, a woman who had to flee her home in Yemen, stares straight ahead

Tallabah in Yemen © Azzam al-Zubairi

Two years ago, Tallabah and her family lived in their own house.

Now, they camp in a tent pitched in a graveyard.

To feed them, she must beg for food.

Tallabah is one of a staggering 20 million people in Yemen who don’t have enough to eat.

We’re sharing her story to put a face to the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

We hope it will help us all understand why Yemen’s people desperately need our help.

Bullets were chasing us

“My name is Tallabah Ali, I do not know how old I am. I have twelve children and fourteen grandsons.

My husband has died and I live with two sons and two daughters in the same shaky tent.

Two years ago, our village was under attack at night.

Some of our neighbours were killed and others were injured, so we did not hesitate to leave our houses that same night.

The sounds of fighting surrounded us. The bullets were chasing us while we were fleeing.

We did not take anything with us, as just getting to a safe area was our goal. We spent the whole night walking.

In the morning we found ourselves in this area, where we had never been before. We decided to stay here until someone came to help us.

This area is a graveyard, so people who lived nearby did not stop us from living here. All of us felt happy when we found ourselves in a safe area.”

I resorted to begging

“But we were shocked to realise that we did not have anything to help us live and it was a challenge to start our life in the outdoors.

The next day, I started to go to neighbouring villages and people helped me with food.

Ten days later, an organisation gave us tents, so we set up a camp on the graveyard.

I had to resort to begging people to provide us with food. I became the family’s breadwinner.

Unfortunately, I feel sorry to say that begging became our source of income.”

My family would die from hunger

“In this camp we do not have wheat, flour, sugar, rice or any other basic items, not even firewood.

There is no food inside our tent and I appeal to the world to help us with food.

It is not easy to lose your dignity and resort to begging but if I did not do that, my family would die from hunger.

I get barely enough food for one day and sometimes I do not get enough.”

We eat anything

“After I get some wheat, I return to cook the meal outdoors. Usually, the bread I make has a lot of dust as the wind blows dust and dirt in this open area.

We eat anything even if it is full of dust. Bread and tea mixed with dust is better than nothing.

I am struggling to provide enough food for the children but there are a lot of them and there is always a shortage.

When I cook, the children fight to eat the bread and they do not wait for me to make them tea.

They always go to sleep hungry.

Some organisations provide us with food from time to time but that is not enough.”

My hope is to return home

“I think all the time about returning to my house. But people tell me that all roads to our village are blocked because of the ongoing fighting.

I think people who flee their homes in any country hope to return to their houses.

I am like them. My hope is to return home tonight even if I must go back on foot.”

Please support the Yemen Crisis Appeal

The Red Cross and our partners the Yemen Red Crescent have given food to hundreds of thousands of people in Yemen.

We’re also helping with medical care and other essentials such as water and blankets.

Your donation could help us reach more people like Tallabah and her grandchildren. Please give generously.