As stats on war-related devastation are released,Gov’t committee resumes Sa’ada field visit to complete assessment [Archives:2008/1179/Front Page]

August 7 2008

By: Yemen Times Staff
SA'ADA, Aug. 6 ) A government committee authorized by President Ali Abdullah Saleh to assess damage from the Sa'ada fighting resumed its field visit to the war-torn governorate on Sunday to complete its assessment, a government source told various media outlets on condition of anonymity.

Local Administration Ministry Undersecretary Akram Al-Sheikh stated to the Yemeni army-affiliated that the committee will continue its assessment in Sa'ada according to a previously specified schedule of priorities.

He expects the assessment of war damage in Bani Hushaish area, situated east of Sana'a, to begin once the committee completes its findings in Sa'ada.

At its weekly meeting on Tuesday, the Yemeni Cabinet directed the committee to immediately assess damage in Sa'ada governorate and Bani Hushaish area in Sana'a governorate and then forward complete reports to it in order to approve any required compensation and resume reconstruction.

Cabinet ministers reviewed an initial progress report on the damage assessment resulting from the four-year fighting between the Yemeni army and Houthi supporters in Sa'ada and other areas in various development and service spheres. Local Administration Minister Abdulqader Hilal presented the report.

Stats on war-related devastation

According to the report, the fighting damaged as many as 4,141 homes, 64 fruit and vegetable farms and 24 poultry farms in several Sa'ada areas. The report adds that some 201 public facilities and installations also were partially or completely destroyed in the fighting.

Education topped the list of public facilities affected by the war, which damaged 116 primary and secondary schools. The health sector came in second with 36 facilities damaged, while the endowment and religious guidance sector came in third with 26 facilities and mosques either partially or completely destroyed.

A field subcommittee, which is part of the larger government committee, decided at a meeting late last month to form field teams at the governorate and district levels to contribute to the damage assessment process.

Sa'ada war included in study center report

The Yemeni Center for Strategic Studies last week launched its annual report for 2007, which included issues such as public protests, the war in Sa'ada and dialogue between the various political parties on forming an elections committee and election amendments, among other issues, reported.

It pointed out that the report significantly dealt with the Sa'ada conflict and reflections upon it, as well as both domestic and foreign powers' stance toward the conflict.

Fighting between Houthi loyalists, who are members of the Shi'ite Muslim Zaidi sect led by Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, and Yemeni government forces flared following previous attempts to end hostilities in the northern governorate of Sa'ada, including a 2007 Qatari mediation that was revived this year.

These so-called Houthi “rebels,” as the government calls them, reported two weeks ago that tribal mediation had succeeded in ending the fighting.

The study center report also focused on national poverty indicators, price hikes and inflation.

Further, it considered protests and peaceful struggle for rights as a positive phenomenon within Yemeni society in light of the political development the nation is witnessing. As center Chairman Mohammed Al-Afandi, noted, “It's every Yemeni's constitutional right to strive for legal rights.”

Several politicians and intellectuals attended the report's launch ceremony.