Written By: Elena White
Article Date: Jun 12, 2012 - 9:55:52 AM
The aftermath of the Yemeni popular uprising weighs heavy on the former southern capital of Aden, with its residents having to suffer through long blackouts, water scarcity and widespread violence.
Roles seem to have reversed in Aden, with people now experiencing what Sana’a inhabitants endured throughout 2011, to the difference that Aden does it under 40-45°C sun.
Doctor Abdel-Mageed Kulaib, an oncologist told the Yemen Observer that Aden was experiencing long blackout spells, putting the health of many elderly patients and young children at risk as their bodies were not used to coping with such heat.
“Aden is ill-equipped when it comes to an alternative electricity provider, very few residents invested in fuel-powered generator since electricity was never an issue here. We find ourselves facing many heat related difficulties.”
He went on explaining that hospitals and pharmacies had to get rid of much of their medicine as extreme temperatures destroyed their active ingredients, rendering them useless. “My main concern is insulin, if capsules are not kept at low temperature the molecules in it get destroyed, and if injected the patient could actually get harmed.”
“Widespread violence also makes difficult for us to get supply,” added the doctor. Aden’s Governor, Engineer Wahed Rashid admitted that the city had a power shortfall equating to 120 Megawatts, which he added could only be met through the upgrade of the power plant.Rashid explained that despite city officials’ best efforts, the burden brought by IDPs – Internally Displaced People – proved too much to bear.
Ever since al-Qaeda’s expansion campaign in 2011 in the southern province of Abyan, hundreds of thousands of people fled to Aden, hoping to find refuge on the coast. With weeks turning into months, Aden’s Governor called on the international Community to intervene financially and logistically.
As a result of the power crisis, residents in Aden started to organize demonstrations and sit-ins before the governor’s office, demanding he solved the situation. Aden Steam Station Director Engineer Asghar Mohammed Hanif, attributed the blackouts in Aden and the province to faulty boilers, stressing disrepair and poor maintenance were essentially to blame.
“What we need is a new power station,” said a repair engineer to the Yemen Observer under cover of anonymity for he was not allowed to speak to the media. To make matters worse, water became as well an issue for residents, which under such a torrid can soon become unbearable. So far, all of Aden’s water needs were met from wells inside the governorate and the neighboring governorates such as Lahj and Abyan.
Again the arrival of hundreds of thousands of new people in the region meant the water supply network was put under much stress, creating a shortage.
The Governor of Aden advised Aden should rely solely on water desalination to meet its needs as to free aqua reserves and allow neighboring provinces to quench their thirst.
Finally violence is spreading across the city, with residents telling the Yemen Observer that their once peace-loving city had turned into a hellish land where thugs and criminals are left free to roam.
Doctor Kulaib said gun related injuries and other violent crimes had increased tenfold over the past months, stressing entire neighborhoods had become so dangerous residents had abandoned their homes, preferring to stay with relatives or friends. Residents told the Yemen Observer over the phone that drugs, theft, weapons, dealing, and even murder had become a daily experience.
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