Unprecedented gas crisis in Yemen [Archives:2007/1013/Front Page]

January 4 2007

Ismail Al-Ghabiri

SANA'A, Jan. 1 ) A gas crisis recently has renewed across the nation, two months ahead of Eid Al-Adha. Yemenis in numerous cities and rural areas complain of the difficulty in obtaining gas during the eid.

Citizens now can only purchase it from vendors, who roam the streets with gas cylinders on pushcarts, because gas agents are monopolizing it at their outlets, thus increasing gas prices from YR 420 to YR 1,000 per cylinder.

Citizens believe that the Yemeni Gas Company policy followed in various governorates has failed. Despite declarations by the firm and its leadership that it will flood local markets with gas before Eid Al-Adha, nothing has happened up until now.

Attempts were made to contact the General Gas Corporation for further clarification about the crisis, but no answer was received from such officials.

Yemen's Socotra Island also is facing an unprecedented gas crisis while its island inhabitants find nowhere to get firewood. Additionally, densely-populated Taiz governorate is experiencing a similar crisis, despite the fact that the gas corporation said it flooded the market with 30,000 gas cylinders.

According to media reports, a gas truck arriving daily in Taiz governorate drove toward Taiz and Ibb loaded with 2,000 gas cylinders to meet citizen demands in both governorates.

On a field visit to various zones in the capital, the Yemen Times learned that citizens face difficulties in finding gas, whereas gas agents said they don't know the causes of the crisis. However, citizens insist that the gas corporation and local council officials are accountable for it.

Gas agents complained that citizens accuse them of hiding gas in order to raise its price, when it's gas corporation officials who should be held accountable for the crisis because they don't distribute gas fairly among the governorates.

Some densely-populated areas in the capital don't receive the deserved quantity of gas, which sharpens the crisis.

Yemenis complain about skyrocketing prices, which add much misery to their poor economic conditions and from which they lack any legal protections.