HODEIDAH: Victim of Hanger and Corruption [Archives:2001/52/Reportage]

December 24 2001

Hodeidah is undoubtedly the mermaid of the Red Sea, despite being burdened by worries, hangers and corruption. The extreme poverty, this city is suffering from, has forced thousands of people to be beggars. As every Thursday roughly ten thousand beggars gathered in the suburbs of the city of Hodeidah and then go to shops to beg for alms.
A person in charge of the Fishers Association in Hodeidah said he had submitted many complaints demanding the authorities to save our sea wealth from foreign boats and ships mostly coming from Egypt, Eriteria and Djibouti, which illegally fish in the Yemeni territorial waters, but to no avail. Actually, these foreign ships use improper means during fishing; destroying the marine wealth and environment, as well. However, a senior officials at the governorate confirmed that the problems that occurred in the past between Yemeni and Eritarian fishers had been completely solved after referring them to the cabinet. He further ascribed these problems to the ignorance of fishers, whether Yemeni or non-Yemenis, of the territorial waters of the country.
The port of Hodeidah is improperly equipped and greatly needs rehabilitation. Moreover, the departments in charge of inspecting and controlling the flow of foreign goods to the country do not carry out their duties probably. A business owner in Hodeidah said businessmen were always subjected to blackmailing and fees of different kinds were imposed against them. The same person added that the government’s department was keen on imposing the strictest supervision on locally produced goods but do not do the same with the imported ones.
The suffering of the city of Hodeidah has surpassed beyond what is imaginable as famine has overcome the majority of the population there. The returnees from the Gulf region seem to be the most afflicted in Hodeidah as poverty has severely affected these people. One of these returnees said the government treated the refugees residing in Yemen much better than the returnees from the Gulf states, adding that refugees received foodstuffs and health care while they (returnees) suffered from hunger.
Similarly, Hodeidah is suffering from different epidemics, such as malaria, typhoid, etc. The security situation in the governorate is also another problem as many citizens have been victimized by the security forces there.
The officials in Hodeidah seems to have forgotten the deteriorating situation of the seaport anchors and the state of negligence prevalent at the airport. Similarly, the funds of Tihama Development Authority has been embezzled by some officials who have used these funds for their personal gains. It is the all-out corruption that has afflicted this rich governorate and its people, who have been left uncared-for but at the time of elections.