Yemen between relief and corruption [Archives:2008/1204/Viewpoint]

November 3 2008

Nadia Al-Saqqaf
Thanks to international and local support, there is much hope that the three stricken governorates: Hadramout, Shabwa and Al-Mahra that have been affected by the storm will recover.

The suburbs around Sayuon in Hadramout especially need urgent attention, and it is overwhelming to know that relief airplanes full of supplies and medicines have been constantly arriving at Sana'a, Mukalla and Sayoun airports.

Despite the good feelings and the support coming from all over the world, some of the ill meaning acts still crop up and disturb the general sense of cooperation and support. An example of this is news that an Arab country's airplane filled with supplies had been directed to land in Sana'a airport instead of Mukalla, and when the crew insisted on unloading the materials in Mukalla the airport authorities demanded payment of US 6500$, which they were forced to pay before being allowed to take off towards Hadramout.

The news is very annoying, you get people coming to offer you help and yet you extort money out of them in such a demeaning way. Some other news described a well known charity on the national level taking all the tents and food supplies dedicated to the people in the camps by WFP and keeping them to be redistributed by the charity as seen appropriate.

My guess is that such supplies will be used to gain popularity closer to the parliamentarian elections due in April next year.

Corruption is not only from the Yemeni side. There has some hushed criticism that many of the countries that promised money are not so serious about it and their aid is only paper on ink. If the money is delivered at all, it will take its time and perhaps land up in other places.

People working in the field with the victims from government, local, and international organizations commented on this saying that they would rather be given immediate, tangible support in terms of food, supplies tc rather than promises that were not likely to be fulfilled. But the reconstruction of the damaged areas will surely need money, especially after the relief is over. It remains to be seen if this money will eventually be used to rebuild or not.

All being said, Yemenis are very grateful for all the support and help. Yemen deserves it, and appreciates it, regardless of a few corrupt people who do not represent Yemen or Yemenis.