Carefree moments amid the hardship

These boys' frolics amid beautiful mountaintop scenery belie the hardship their people face.

In villages perched high on a mountain in western Yemen, residents are at a safe distance from the conflict raging throughout most of the country. But they have had to turn the clock back on their lifestyles by centuries.

Eighteen months of civil war and shortages have deprived Yemen's 28 million people of electricity and fuel - dinner is cooked on an open fire and only dawn light heralds the start of work in the fields.

But far from being a country idyll, starvation and a lack of vital medicines have turned sunny days in the crisp green hills into a mediaeval struggle for survival. People in the Jafariya district of the western Raymah province must now haul basic goods uphill by foot, donkey and even a pulley-powered cable car soaring between peaks.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Carefree moments amid the hardship'. Print Edition | Subscribe