Yemen: Hadhramaut's continued suffering

Yemen: Hadhramaut's continued suffering:.
By: Muhammad Bin-Dohry 
November 2019.

I am back again in Mukalla, the capital of Hadhramaut, and my ancestral homeland.
Apart from attending the inauguration  and opening of the school I setup, the new English medium IGCSE -Al Ahgaaf International Schools on 28th September 2019 another milestone for Hadhramaut in education.

I would have loved to share good news, unfortunately I am witnessing the continuing sufferings of the population.

Life is just getting unbearable for many. The same I am sure applies to most parts of Yemen where I receive calls for assistance from Aden, Taiz etc. A number of students are stranded for being unable to meet their living costs in foreign lands as well as being forced back from the borders as they plan to travel overseas to study.

The spiralling cost of living, the economic conditions, and hardship on most fronts, makes it more difficult to see a way forward. No immediate improvement for the lives of most or for a change to better living standards or conditions.

Begging is normal, corruption is on the increase in most local and government institutions. Added by the none existence of a functioning government.

Chaos prevails on the streets, fuel shortages, continuous power cuts,
Security check points within town limits and outside still exist a sense of insecurity continues. No International airport operating in Mukalla and a blockade of Yemenis travelling to all the neighbouring countries and afar. Whether for medical treatment, education or otherwise. It's a strangulation of the whole country.
The population is exasperated.

The black economy is thriving and is the greatest segment of the country's economic activity. The elite, the so called legitimate government and most money changers are the main source that take advantage of the country's chaotic situation.

Their activities can be either legal or illegal depending on what goods and/or services are involved. This situation has compounded since the war broke out in 2015. It has now gone out of any reasonable proportion to be contained.

Well connected money changers, importers and businessmen with the right connections within Government have managed to drain the country's foreign exchange. Thus leaving most banks out of foreign exchange reserves.

They use their connections within Government agencies to extort millions of foreign currency by corrupt, but cover up practices of claims that they import for the country petroleum and food products etc and need foreign exchange for meeting the demand.

It is however no surprise that they inflate and play with numbers which are easily passed through for approval by Government officials. Thus they make a killing at the rate of exchange. By buying Officially the US Dollar at 481 Yemeni Rials (official rate!) From the Central Bank in Aden.
While they sell the dollar at YR 610+ - to the population. A difference of roughly YR 130.

This is only one prime example of extortion and corruption of the war torn country.

Yet those Hadhramis living in the Gulf Countries over decades and some of them have never visited their homeland since childhood as well as those born in the Gulf. They still maintain their Yemeni nationality but have been under great pressure with the new rules introduced a year ago which have affected their status and lives in the Gulf. They started returning either to their homeland or to other welcoming states (e.g. Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Indonesia etc).

The influx to Hadhramaut has made the cost and rental of properties and land sky rocket and at prices that are far dearer than anywhere in the Gulf states.
All business quote prices in Saudi Riyals or US Dollars.

Unfortunately there was no kind of contingency plan prepared by the government or local authority for such emergencies. Nothing to be surprised about!
The infrastructure is in complete tatters, power generation, communications, municipal services, sewage, health services, town planning and all are just appalling.

Businesses, private medical care, property development etc are doing well. The none existence of law & order makes the implementation of any law or rule an impossible task.
Many make and take the law into their hands.
Most state employees are ghost workers earning monthly salaries and also work elsewhere privately to earn and meet their needs.

If ever a legitimate Government takes over it will need a complete overhaul of the total system.

The talks being conducted in KSA at the moment between the so called "legitimate government and the Southern Transitional Council" is just a fight for personal positions NOT to bring about a real functioning state with a distinct economy and a revival of a glorious new future.

Gloomy as it looks, the only thing is to see them prove they are different from past leaders.They will need to be transparent, honest to the country and servants of the people and state not militias or political stalwarts.

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  1. As you stated, the accumulating political disputes have left no other options for the deteriorating governmental institutions except full overhaul as the partial rectifications will be useless.

    No doubt, Money Exchangers are the big beneficiaries in such chaotic situation as they have now got full control on liquidity of local and foreign currencies instead of the CBY.

    It is unfortunate to find out after so many decades of false revolutionary theories that the foreign colonization still sounds to be better than the domestic national regimes.