Since tensions flared up in Yemen this spring, Christians in the city of Aden have faced what the Anglican bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf has referred to as “terrible” conditions, even as tensions appear to have died down.
More than 600 people have been killed in the city and 3,000 wounded, while 22,000 residents had been displaced since the Iran-backed Houthi rebels first pushed into the city on March 25.
Fighting in the city has seen damage to the city’s Christ Church and its associated clinic, Ras Morbat.
Rt Rev Michael Lewis wrote in a prayer letter that the buildings’ windows had been blown out as a result of blast waves from sustained shelling. However, he added, “we are told that all our staff are safe so far, and for that we thank God”.
He said: “The general state of Aden is terrible: lack of fuel means lack of electricity, and telecommunications and even basic movement around the large city have become hugely difficult. Food is limited, and money to buy it even more so.
“Our administrator is very thankful for the many prayers that he knows have been made for him, for all who work at Ras Morbat, and for the people of Aden and the Yemen as a whole, a country sorely abused by those with the power, if they chose to use, to promote the common good to the glory of God.”
A coalition of Middle East nations have bombed Houthi army units and other rebel strongholds, while Sunni-led Saudi Arabia believes that Shi’ite Iran is behind the rebels, who have taken control of much of the country since late March. The coalition seeks to restore Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
A five-day cease fire, which began earlier this week, appears to be holding steady, though locals do not expect it to lead to a lasting peace.
Aid agencies said the five-day break in fighting to allow fuel, medicine, food and aid workers to enter Yemen could be a “lifeline” for civilians trapped in conflict zones.
The United Nations believes 828 civilians, including 182 children, have been killed across Yemen since March 26.
Aden locals expressed doubts that the ceasefire would last.
“Aden needs a humanitarian truce so badly, given the lack of food, fuel and everything else. But we question the intentions of the Houthis and believe they will take advantage of the truce to take more areas,” said Hassan al-Jamal, a resident of Aden.