BY NY Staff
Living conditions have continued to deteriorate in Abyan governorate following fighting between the army and Al-Qaeda militants in 2011, which left 200 thousand people displaced for more than 10 months. Although half of the displaced returned to their homes, many of them continue to live in makeshift camps and remain in serious need of basic items and services.
A team affiliated with the National Organization for Rights and Freedoms has found that while many citizens returned back to their houses, hundreds of families still live in camps for the displaced.
Local citizen Bassem Al-Hindi, 42, stated that the amount of relief provided to returning citizens had consistently decreased.
“The last visit by a relief organization was weeks ago and was limited to displaced camps near Lahj governorate,” he said.
Al-Hindi further noted that Abyan governorate continues to suffer as a result of a devastated infrastructure and an absence of security.
Children also continue to suffer from poor conditions. In school, they attempt to study in roofless classrooms with no chalkboards. At times, teachers themselves are unavailable.
Cities in the governorate are largely bereft of police and army personnel, who are instead situated at the entries to cities while the city centers are left to be controlled by armed groups.
Moreover, stores are open but have no goods, as most goods were stolen when battles raged. Those stocks which remained were left completely depleted after only a matter of days when families returned to the area.
Ismaeel Ahmed, UNICEF’s Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen, stated that the current situation was disastrous, with returnees in need of clean water, food and medicine. Last year, UNICEF distributed school supplies for 150 thousand children who had recently returned to their homes.
Ali Al-Taieb, Chairman of Failaq, a non-governmental organization in Aden, stated that it was important for people to notice improvements in services and for normal living conditions to be restored.
After witnessing the destruction caused by recent fighting in the governorate, Failaq’s field team called on governmental and international organizations to present all possible support, including food, clothes, health and education services to returnees to ensure their social and psychological stability.