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Fishermen risk death in Yemen's violent waters

Updated : 2018-10-26 12:54:27

A three-and-a-half-year Saudi-led coalition war with Yemen's Houthi rebels in Yemen has caused the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with two thirds of the population — some 18 million people — relying on humanitarian aid. International aid agencies say 8 million Yemenis don't know where their next meal is coming from.

An estimated 300,000 fishermen still ply the waters of Yemen's Red Sea coast, where heavy fighting has been underway for months as the coalition tries to pry the port city of Hodeida — a crucial lifeline for aid — from the Iran-aligned rebels.

The fishermen try to avoid the coalition warships, which are on the lookout for weapons smugglers and rebels armed with rockets and explosives. The Houthis have carried out several attacks on ships off Yemen's coast.

The governing body in charge of Red Sea fishing in Yemen, which is currently controlled by the Houthis, says more than 220 fishermen have been killed in more than 70 attacks since the fighting broke out in March 2015.

The fishermen used to stay out at sea for 15 days at a time, but now the trips are much shorter, and the catches smaller. The price of fish has gone up as a result, making it too expensive for many Yemenis and further squeezing the fishermen.

"Hunger is harder than fear," Ammar Ahmed, a fisherman said. "It's scary for me to go out because I don't know if I will return or not, but how do I live seeing my family not able to feed itself?"

In this September 29, 2018, photo, 71-year-old Yemeni fisherman Ammar Ahmed prepares his nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, 71-year-old Yemeni fisherman Ammar Ahmed prepares his nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, 71 year-old Yemeni fisherman Ammar Ahmed, center, prepares his net before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, 71 year-old Yemeni fisherman Ammar Ahmed, center, prepares his net before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen rest on their boats before fishing at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen rest on their boats before fishing at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen take a break and chew Qat, an amphetamine-like stimulant, on a boat at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen take a break and chew Qat, an amphetamine-like stimulant, on a boat at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen fix their nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen fix their nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen head out to sea for a fishing trip as the sun sets near the fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen head out to sea for a fishing trip as the sun sets near the fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
This September 29, 2018, photo, shows fishing boats docked at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
This September 29, 2018, photo, shows fishing boats docked at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018 photo, Yemeni fishermen load their nets on to a boat before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018 photo, Yemeni fishermen load their nets on to a boat before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, a fisherman holds fish at the main fishing port in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, a fisherman holds fish at the main fishing port in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, Yemeni fishermen work on their boat at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, Yemeni fishermen work on their boat at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, Yemeni fishermen fix their nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, Yemeni fishermen fix their nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen rest on their boats before working at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen rest on their boats before working at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, a boy holds the catch of the day on a boat at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, a boy holds the catch of the day on a boat at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen work on their nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
In this September 29, 2018, photo, fishermen work on their nets before a fishing trip at the main fishing port, in Hodeida, Yemen. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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