War-torn Yemen: Report from a country on the brink of the abyss

Correspondent Daisy Mohr about her trip to Yemen

“It took almost a year for cameraman Pablo Torres and I to get permission to travel to Yemen. For months I called embassies, ministries and fixers almost weekly. These are local contacts who help journalists with their work. When we finally got a got a visa for the government area, our fixer spent weeks trying to get permission to go to the north of Yemen, where the Houthis are in power.

Everything about this journey was complicated. Even booking the plane ticket took days. This cannot simply be booked online, but all kinds of authorities have to give permission for this. Until the last moment it is unclear whether you are indeed allowed on the flight. We flew to the southern port city of Aden, because the airport of the capital Sanaa has been closed to international air traffic since 2016. Only the UN, international aid agencies and diplomats are allowed to fly to Sanaa.

We therefore had to take the road from Aden to Sanaa, a dangerous 14-hour drive along all kinds of front lines with almost 70 checkpoints. Only a handful of journalists managed to make this trip this year. In Sanaa, which is in the hands of the Houthi rebels, we were accompanied by two representatives of the ‘Ministry of Information’, but even then you are sometimes stuck at all kinds of checkpoints for hours.

To make the story about the humanitarian disaster, we drove north from Sanaa to Hajjah. A journey that took another 7 hours.”

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