The Battle of Hodeidah
Filmed in Yemen
Commissioned by Vice News Tonight
At least 450 Yemenis were killed in the first nine days of August, making it one of the bloodiest periods since the war broke out – and it could get a lot worse. An international coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and backed by the US, is preparing to retake the strategic port city of Hodeidah. The operation could prove disastrous for Yemen’s most vulnerable: 70% of all of Yemen’s goods enter into the country through there, so a protracted battle could quickly turn into a humanitarian disaster, which prevents millions of people from receiving food and aid. VICE News embedded with Yemeni troops as they prepared to retake a crucial supply route. But even a seemingly straightforward operation like this one descended into chaos. It wasn’t long into the advance that Saeed and several men found themselves cut off from their convoy, trapped by Houthi sniper fire. They were forced to run for cover before eventually making their escape. A battle in Hodeidah city itself would be one of the deadliest in a war that has already claimed more than ten thousand lives and thrust 23 million more into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
After graduating from high school in 2000, Benjamin began working part-time at Channel 7 in Brisbane, Australia, where he worked his way up to handling a camera. Since then, he has covered stories in Iraq and East Timor, working for outlets such as Al Jazeera and Channel 10, before becoming a full-time freelancer based out of Sydney.
“Foley’s camera work was consistently brilliant – he captured the humanity of the characters very well. The immediacy was also very powerful – he put you into the action. In all aspects, from the hospital to the frontline to the prisoners, you felt you were right there.”
Rory Peck Award for News Features Jury