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Sa'ada: Suspended Reconstruction Operations
  Written By: Abdul Rahim Al-Showthabi (YEMEN POST STAFF)
  Article Date:
February 02
, 2009



Despite the fact that Sa'ada clashes involving Houthi rebels and the state army stopped seven months ago; reconstruction operation and deliverance of human relief materials for displaced locals are still unachievable. 

Several charity and relief organizations have tried so far to implement relief projects as is the case with Islah Social Welfare Society (ISWS) which signed an agreement with UNICEF to deliver societal food and medical intervention project within the frame of support provided for the displaced people of Sa'ada.

The project, initiated on September 20, 2008, is financed by UNICEF at $47,000. At the first stage, 39 heath workers were trained and six centers for societal treatment were inaugurated. The project also seeks to implement different studies to evaluate the health situation for mothers.

Moreover, over 1,500 children were treated for malnutrition and 9,360 packets of medical food (known as PB5) were distributed to undernourished children. Over 384 cases were treated through societal surveys. Severe malnourishment was reduced to 25 percent.

Director of ISWS branch in Sa'ada Mohammed Salem noted that his organization implemented several relief projects in 2008 in the camps of refugees including the distribution of full sets of house furniture and kitchens.

Also, clothes were distributed to the displaced locals in Al-Anad Camp one of the biggest camps as well as sponsoring orphans. They are still enlisted in 2009 plan.

Hindrances before relief acts

Previous statistics estimated the number of displaced locals to be 70,000 by the time the war ended in July 17, 2008. The number of locals being afflicted by war events was estimated by then to be 250,000.

ِAlso, the engineers of Sa'ada Reconstruction Fund 30 in number started striking from continuing their evaluative works of damages after tribesmen in Al-Shat area in Sahar district had intercepted and took their engineers' car by force.

A large number of displaced locals demonstrated in several camps demanding their shares of provisional and relief materials distributed by charity and relief organizations. Mediation efforts were concentrated in areas that had witnessed serious differences between Houthis and pro-government tribes in Khawlan, Haydan, Saqeen, Bani Obad and Magz.

There have been several blockage of Sana'a-Sa'ada highway by locals who are demanding their rights from the government or releasing their fellow tribesmen detained by Houthis. The last blockade has been existent for two months.


Reconstruction Fund resumes work

Following a previous meeting for the fund's board of directors, it was approved then to add six people to the board. This brings to 13 the number of Reconstruction Fund members which includes the governor, the secretary general of Sa'ada province, Sa'ada Radio Station Manager Mohammed Salem Azan, Abdul Khaliq Bishr from dignitaries and Fuad Al-Shami from civil society organizations as well as Qassim Al-Ajem.

In its first meeting, fund members discussed the different mechanisms for delivering compensations sums. This was confined to houses with partial damages whose owners are working on restoring them, while payment of compensations sums for the completely demolished houses was delayed.

This was justified by the fact that these sums are big especially when they fear compensations sums are not rightly channeled, noting that they are still looking for a mechanism to address such an issue.

Moreover, the fund is paying compensations of farms through tenders directly supervised by the fund. These tenders allow buying pumps for those whose pumps were damaged or looted. It also works on restoring the damaged mosques.

The preparations are underway for the second phase of rebuilding process in Al Ammar, Al Salah, Hafseen, Al-Abqur, Al-Mislabah, Al Al-Saifi, Al Humaidan, Al Mazrou', Al-Dhameed, Al-Tawilah and Al-Harbeh. The process will involve 1,000 houses. 

Director of Sa'ada Reconstruction Fund Adel Jilani pointed out that about 98 percent of assessment surveys have so far been implemented in the different districts of Sa'ada, noting that his fund will implement 33 projects including building and restoring schools, public facilities, hospitals, courts and government compounds at YR 250 million, after it had invited the tenders.

Jilani added that 30 projects were, in the first phase, invited including building schools and water tanks in the districts of Razeh, Shada, Al-Dhaher, Al-Safra, Qataber, Munabeh, maintaining that 14 projects have already been bid for and the implementation works are underway at YR 242 million.

He also stated that 60 projects are implemented in all districts, hinting that supervising units will work on groups where each group supervises 250-350 houses. 


Displaced locals: constant suffering

Different problems have worked for prolonging the suffering of Sa'ada displaced people over the last few months. Some camps were evacuated from displaced locals; however, hundreds of families are still living in these camps, as they are unable to return back to their homes for several reasons: completely demolished houses, fearing war renewal or revenge killing by Houthi followers.  

Many displaced locals stressed that it is better to stay in camps rather than to return to their houses and villages, especially when they get sufficient foodstuffs from relief organizations as Islamic Relief, Red Crescent, World Food Program, UNICEF, Islah Charitable Society and several others.

Sam Camp, near Sa'ada city, still accommodates 110 families mostly from Khawlan area and another 750 families live in Al-Anad camp and its dwellers belong to Khawlan, Dhahian, Saqeen, Magz and Razeh.

Al-Taleh Camp contains 96 families who belong to Khawlan, Dhahian and Razeh areas, while Al-Ehsa Camp accommodates 60 families. On average, each family has seven members. Dwellers of other camps like Al-Sallam and Al-Shabab willingly left these two camps and returned to their homes; however, they return from time to time when foodstuffs are being distributed.

Sam Camp Manager Khaled Salem noted that his camp accommodates 110 families, with seven members for each. Prior to signing the ceasefire agreement, the number of families dwelling in the camp was 180. This means that 70 families managed to return home.

He added that displaced locals get different sorts of relief materials and aids including blankets, complete set of kitchens and foodstuffs. The tents are also replaced if they are worn out and dwellers are trained on sewing, embroidery, illiteracy elimination, personal cleanliness, first aid, electricity and carpentry skills around the clock.

Haj Saleh Ahmed Saleh Al-Wishwash, 65 from Haydan district, stated that he has not returned to his village because his houses was completely demolished. "Where can I go? My house is demolished," he said.