Yahia holds her daughter Awsaf, a thin 5-year-old who is getting no more than 800 calories a day from bread and tea, half the normal amount for a girl her age, in Abyan, Yemen.

Jalila: Surviving War and Famine in Yemen

31 Jul 2019 CONTAINERS
Kahlan, a 12-year-old former child soldier, demonstrates how to use a weapon

Featuring: Nariman El-Mofty

Presented by

Pulitzer Center


Curated by

Jin Ding


Famine and starvation, an issue that is now plaguing Yemen as a consequence of the ongoing war, is the slowest form of torture I’ve seen.

As part of my work photographing the war for the Associated Press, I met a beautiful baby girl named Jalila at a clinic near Hodeidah. Though weak from malnourishment, Jailia is quiet and has strength in her soul. In Arabic, her name means majestic or great, and I am dedicating this exhibition to her.

Another person I met during my reporting is Hagar, a mother of eight. Despite being malnourished, she skips meals so her children can eat. I witnessed the strength, love, and comfort that Hagar gives to her children. She is giving to others too. All the family has to eat every day is one loaf of bread and some tea to share, yet Hagar refused to let me and my colleagues leave until we had a bite of that bread too. It was a powerful act of generosity.

My work seeks to humanize people like Jalila and Hagar, rather than continuing a narrative of victimization. I hope that visitors viewing the photographs will empathize with their plight.


Nariman Ayman El-Mofty is a Cairo-based photojournalist for The Associated Press. She joined the AP in 2011 and has since covered top stories and special projects across the Middle East.

El-Mofty is part of the AP team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2019 for international reporting based on its compelling coverage of the grinding conflict in Yemen, the ensuing humanitarian crisis, and a series of deep investigative stories, photos, and videos chronicling atrocities spawned by the war. The AP’s investigative reporting on the war in Yemen in 2018 was supported by a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and the team also received the 2019 Michael Kelly award.

El-Mofty won the Overseas Press Club’s Olivier Rebbot Award for her coverage of the Yemen war, and was a 2017 Magnum Foundation fellow.


The Pulitzer Center is an award-winning, nonprofit news organization that partners with journalists and newsrooms to support in-depth reporting on critical global issues to educate the public, promote solutions, and improve lives.

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