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Yemen: Pressing Humanitarian Needs and Deteriorating Economic Situation

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

The United Nations Security Council just issued a statement expressing grave concern about the situation on the ground in Yemen – and the pressing humanitarian needs and deteriorating economic situation following months of protests calling for the overthrow the Ali Abdullah Saleh regime.

US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice tweeted:

@AmbassadorRice: Today, I told the SecCouncil that an immediate, peaceful & orderly transition is in the best interest of the people of #Yemen.

Meanwhile, on Twitter the discussion continues on the future of the country and whether Saleh, who was being treated in Saudi Arabia for wounds he sustained in a bomb attack two months ago in the capital Sanaa, would return to Yemen or not.

Pro-democracy protesters in Yemen on the first Friday in Ramadan. Image by Luke Somers, copyright Demotix (05/08/11).

Pro-democracy protesters in Yemen on the first Friday in Ramadan. Image by Luke Somers, copyright Demotix (05/08/11).

WomanfromYemen cautions:

@WomanfromYemen: dont trouble urself w/whether #saleh will return or not, the real Q is will the ENTIRE system remain the same or will there B change? #yemen

Yemen Updates notes:

@yemen_updates: Whether #Saleh returns or stays in #Saudi forever, he now knows by heart the majority of #Yemeni hate him. They've had it, khalas. (Enough!)

And Dima Khatib wonders:

@Dima_Khatib: Saleh is going home, Saleh is not going home, Saleh is going home, Saleh is not going home! #Yemen

Ibrahim Mothana concludes:

@imothanaYemen: Vagueness and ambiguity at its peak in #Yemen

The humanitarian and economic situation, meanwhile, continues to burden Yemenis. On her blog, Woman from Yemen, writes on August 7 that she has 22 hours of no electricity at home during Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. She says they break their fast (Iftar) by candle light:

Iftar under the candle light sounds great, but it's not. It's one thing to enjoy iftar under the candle lights for one night, it's completely a different story if it's something constant, which it is. Since the start of the holy month, with the exception of today, we have lacked electricity for 22 hours of the day. We devour every minute of that hourly electricity we're getting. We often have so much to do during that previous moment. When the heavenly lights turn on, we jump with excitement. One of us quickly steps outside to turn on the water pump and the other gets the vacuum cleaner. Some days we both just turn on the computer and pray that internet connects quickly before electricity shuts again. Before we sleep my husband and I make sure to charge our two phones, two computers and of course our re-chargeable small lamp. At least if we charge those when electricity is cut we're able to use [Microsoft] word for work or watch a movie on the computer to entertain ourselves.

Woman from Yemen says the security situation is also leaving her jumpy:

Sensory Overload for the past week, I've been on edge, with ears as strong as satellite antenas. I hear EVERYTHING and anything that sounds remotely close to a gun shot or an explosion I stop and think about it. I then turn to get a confirmation from my husband or anyone near by that what we heard was NOT an explosion. Given that we are having DAILY random fireworks and lots of thunderstorms, it's often hard to differentiate between thunder, fireworks and explosions. This is making me on edge with every little sound and making my husband really irritated by my constant questions.

Living expenses are also on the rise. She writes:

Need a salary increase please $$$$ To go to our favorite cafe it used to cost us 250 Yemeni Riyal one way by taxi, now it's at least 500 YR. Fuel prices used to be 1,500 YR per dabba (20 liters), when fuel shortage occurred it went up to almost 9,000 YR in the black market. It now went down to 3,500 YR and it is widely available (hence the traffic jams). While the prices has doubled from the original 1,500 to 3,500 YR I'm surprised that people are not complaining and in fact happy that we at least have fuel.
Unlike the ghost town that Sana'a became for a short while, traffic jams are now back. The worry I have, and what seems very likely is that these price increases in fuel, transportation, and basic food items will stick even if prices are reduced.

This post is part of our special coverage Yemen Protests 2011.

  • http://www.jofr.org John Lyman

    A very important topic and with that Ambassador Rice isn’t Condoleeza. Probably just a “brain fart” but maybe good to fix it.

    Thank you

  • Andrew Morgan

    Why doesn’t the youth petition the Saudi’s directly for assistance,let them know that you are intelligent and open and you’re promotion in Yemen can only lead to good for the region

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