Local News

Centuries old family ties bind Oman and Yemen across border

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Written by NY Staff

Salalah, Oman – During Ramadan last year, a few months after the outbreak of war in Yemen, Ameer Al Shanfari, an executive at a public insurance company in Salalah, called his cousin in Hadramawt to see how he and his family were faring amid the deepening crisis.

“I was shocked at how difficult he said it was,” Mr Al Shanfari says. “He said no one is supplying food and they could not buy oil for their [power] generators” which not only keep the lights on but also run the bore wells that provide drinking water.

“So we thought that we should send them help,” he says. “We need to ease their situation.”

Like many of the tribes in eastern Yemen, the Al Kathiri tribe, of which the Al Shanfari are a sub-clan, straddles the border with Oman and many of its members have immediate family in both countries.

Hadramawt province, like most places in Yemen, suffered widespread hunger as food and other urgent humanitarian supplies dwindled due to the war and the rebels’ sieges of cities and villages.