For the last five years Yemen has been devastated by civil war. More than a hundred thousand people have lost their lives and the country is suffering the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Taiz, in Yemen’s south-west, is home to one of the longest-running battles of the country’s civil war. Known as the city of snipers, Taiz – divided between the Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the government – is constantly under siege. Saudi air-strikes have continued since the start of the war in 2015. The city is split in two – between Houthi rebels aligned to Iran, – and the government backed by a Saudi-led coalition. The people of Taiz say they have been forgotten in this war. Our Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, producer Tony Brown and cameraman Dave Bull – were given rare access to the government run side of the city.
We brought the world’s worst humanitarian crisis and the issues faced by the people of Taiz to the widest and biggest audience possible in the UK and around the globe. High-profile coverage across the BBC, on TV, radio and online in the UK and around the world. The piece ran prominently on BBC World News across the day and ran on the News at Ten bulletin in the UK. Digital versions on Instagram, YouTube, iPlayer and the website did well. The Taiz piece will have reached millions of people.
The piece gave voice to people in the besieged city of Taiz, who feel forgotten by all sides of the war and the outside world. Working under very difficult conditions we met people who had been victims of Saudi airstrikes and Houthi rocket attacks – people who had lost everything from relatives to their homes. The divided city impacts on everyone’s lives – access to healthcare, education and work are all affected by the ongoing fighting. A real front line story of living with endless war. This was one of a series of films looking at the worsening plight of the people in Yemen. We got Yemen on the news agenda and it was the last of the big foreign stories before Covid struck. The UN told us they were thankful for our courage and determination to get the story right, and from every angle, and for daring to believe that the condition of the world’s poorest and most desperate are worthy of our attention and action. Other NGO’s we worked with told us “You did an amazing job, as always, of highlighting the suffering of ordinary Yemenis who are all but forgotten.” We were told our coverage had changed the conversation on Yemen. After the World Food Programme won the Nobel Peace Prize, they told us we had played our part in them winning the prize for our coverage of their work in Yemen this year.