SANAA - Away from closed doors of politicians' debates on Yemen's future, a growing number of Yemeni fathers and mothers are being driven to end their children' lives before taking their own, in a desperate way to avoid facing another day with no means to feed their ever hungry children.
"We have several children with us who have lost family members to murder-suicide," Amal Abdullah, the director of Leen Foundation for Human Development NGO and former Social Development Fund case worker, told OnIslam.net.
One little girl we work with witnessed her father shooting her entire family -- mother, grand-mother, grand-father, brothers and sisters before turning the gun on himself.
She was found covered in blood beneath her grand-mother's body. Although she escaped unscathed, the poor lamb cannot speak now ... She now lives with an aunt," she added.
Abdullah's organization was one of many NGOs which have been working with street children and destitute families in Sanaa.
One year after the fall of the regime of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, the NGO found itself powerless before the new phenomenon of parents committing suicide after killing their own children.
According to the Interior Ministry, it recorded 30 suicide cases in November 2012; 10% of which were murder-suicides.
In July 2013, the authorities registered 120 suicides of which 15% murder-suicides, showing a sharp increase from previous years.
Officials have explained that due to a lack of resources and social stigma, many murder-suicides cases went unreported or masked as accidents, making it virtually impossible to adequately assess.
Two weeks ago, the Yemeni authorities reported yet another suicide-murder in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, underscoring the people's feeling of helplessness.
A widowed-father of two, who simply could not afford to pay his six-month back rent, decided, out of sheer hopelessness and overwhelming anguish, to throw his two daughters out of the 5th floor apartment window, only to kill himself afterwards.
Only one little girl survived the fall. Doctors however have said that she is unlikely to recover from her injuries.
Suicide is prohibited in Islam, and is considered a criminal offence with punitive laws in almost entire Muslim world.
Yemen in Shambles
NGOs refer the worrying phenomenon to the rising poverty in a country whose once generous and empathetic people found themselves unable to cope anymore with financial hardships.
"Money and support are the main issues, a disheartened Nada Mohammed, a charity worker, told OnIslam.net.
There are so many families in desperate need .. So many have already passed the breaking point.
Yemen, the most populous and poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula stands in stark contrast to its oil rich giant neighbors.
Racked by overlapping and inter-connected crises, a country which once was stood proudly find itself having to survive on foreign aid's handouts.
Ever since 2011 revolution, it has experienced a dramatic rise in poverty, to the point that over 40% of its population has been categorized at food risk.
An overwhelming majority of Yemenis have now to make do with less than $2 per day, standing well below the poverty line.
NGOs have complained that a chronic lack of funds and security issues have made things very difficult indeed.
Financial hardship has reached such catastrophic levels that charitable organizations, mosques and philanthropists can no longer fill the void.
Unemployment is driving Yemen into the ground and whatever we do it it only seems to be getting worse as time goes by," a desperate Mohammed said.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net