What is Happening to Abyan’s Displaced People?

National Yemen

Abyen security

By NY Staff

A group of peaceful protestors launched the Freedom March from the Change Square in Sana’a towards a number of other governorates to monitor the violations and crimes committed by Saleh’s regime and family against the Yemeni people. The march went through a number of camps of displaced citizens in Aden and witnessed their suffering up-close.

The number of displaced people from Abyan governorates has been continually increased during the past 10 months due to the battles between the Yemeni forces and armed groups from Ansar Al-Sharia.  There are currently 129,211 people dispersed mainly amongst three main governorates including Aden, Luder, and Al-Baidha’a. They are also some displaced persons residing in different parts such as Abyan, Yafe’a and Shabwa.  According to the most recent reports, Aden received the largest portion of displaced people with the estimated number reaching 69,449. Luder governorate comes after Aden, and then Al-Baidha’a.

Living Situation  

As the number of displaced citizens increases, so have the difficulties and hardships they encounter in Aden and other governorates. Displaced citizens attribute their suffering to lack of attention by relevant authorities in their area. Naser Awadh, 47, accused the local council of delaying their financial benefits and food aid. “We used to receive our aids monthly, then we received them every three months,” he stated.

Similarly, Noor Mubarak complained that aid from international relief organizations stopped for no reason in October of 2011.

Anas Hamdy, alongside his five children, have no place to stay and live in a corridor of a university housing building. Anas said that they are required to immediately leave the spot they are occupying in the building.

“I used to sleep between rocks and trees after I fled the clashes with my sons. My wife passed away in the last war between Ansar Al-Sharia and the Yemeni Army,” recalled Anas.

Anas said that authorities refused to bestow him a single room to stay in with his children, though there are some who have more than one room in addition to the houses they are renting.

Mohammed Salem Ali Marzook suffers from a similar situation where he said that he has not received any food aid just like his fellows in the camp. “They intentionally stopped my aid because I criticized the strategies the official authorities use to distribute the aid and how they deal with us,” said Anas.

Anwar Saeed Al-Shaheeri, a fisherman from Abyan fled with his family from Abyan on their boat that was loaded with some furniture, food and fishing tools. As he was moving towards Aden coast guards looted nearly half a million Yemeni Ryal in personal belongings. When they took his fishing tools, he was left no choice but to place his boat under the castle of Seera and move to the camp of displaced. “I used to earn my living from fishing but now I am doing nothing and do not know what I should do to live with my family,” Al-Shaheeri.

According to Anwar Al-Shaheeri, displaced people are dependent on the international aid they receive from now to then. Shaheering said, “We are used to hearing that they brought us some aid like sugar and rice, but we see nothing and get nothing.” Anwar added that they have suffering like this this for three months.

The representative and supervisor of displaced camps Abdulbarri Saleh Awadh confirmed many of the complaints of the displaced.

“Our main problem with the concerned authorities in the Local Council lies in the aid portion of each family. They give 10 kilos of sugar, 10 kilos of rice and beans and 25 kilos of flour for each family,” Anwadh continued, “What makes it worse is that they bring it too late to the families.”

Awadh said the displaced have lost their homes, sources of income and also live in very difficult circumstances dependent on the aid of organizations. Due to all of these reasons, Awadh said, “The authorities should honestly deal with them and provide them with enough and regular aid.”

“I have seen some of the displaced walking on their feet to get to the place of distributing aid because they cannot afford the transportation. Alas, these people did not get their portion on that day,” Awadh concluded.

According to Awadh, another problem is that the portion of aid specified to Al-Boraika residents goes immediately to the storehouses in Al-Mansoura, although there are enough stores in Al-Boraika that can store the necessary amounts of aid.

Mohammed Hisham from Al-Makhzan used to have a bike that was his income source. As he was giving a ride to a passenger, a mortar shell hit him and disabled him. As a result, his family has been suffering for eight months trying to provide him with the treatment while the international and national organizations talk but do nothing.

This crisis has also spurred other crisis as well. With the influx of many displaced people to the university housing areas, nearly 800 students are now displaced from their normal housing. Abdulkhaleq Ahmed Qasem, a student who lost his room in the building called on the concerned authorities to take their problem in consideration especially that they cannot afford renting houses in the city.

Health and Environment Situation

The state of health of the displaced is worsening as the sewage water and piles of garbage surround those living in the housing building of the university. Such an environment creates a breeding ground for all sorts of infections and health complications. Husien Al-Shaibani, a supervisor of one of the buildings, said that in the Al-Sha’ab district displace people have been suffering from health problems over the last seven months. “[This] will cause an environmental and health disaster. We have informed the authorities about these problems as well as national and international organizations but no avail,” Al-Shaibani concluded.

Ebrahim Ali from Al-Musemeer directorate fled Abyan with his father and now suffers from renal failure mainly caused by the terror they faced in the war between Ansar Al-Sharia and Yemeni army. Yasser visited all the national and international health care organizations and was finally promised by the health office in Aden City travelling tickets and 600 dollars early in the year of 2012. The second month of 2012 has passed and they still have not received anything from the office.

An elderly woman named Ihsan suffers from shortness in breathing and low blood pressure, which have both increased in their severity since she arrived to the displaced camps. According to her, her health has decreased because there are a lot of people around. “We live in classrooms and do everything here, we sleep, eat, take showers and cook here,” she added. Such class rooms lack the least elements of healthy life. The many national and international organizations that visited her have given her nothing but monthly sedative injections.

All displaced people suffer from some sort of health crisis and they rarely receive benefits from the organizations that announced the establishment of five health camps for them. Many of the displaced repeatedly mention that they have yet to see any of these camps and must rely on themselves to get by.

Ali Mohammed Abdullah, a prominent figure in Abyan governorate held responsibility for the suffering of the displaced people and has relayed his concerns to the concerned authorities. Simultaneously, he called on all the United Nations for urgent intervention to prevent a humanitarian disaster.