Yemen government vows to reconstruct Aden

By Faisal Darem in Sanaa


The Yemeni government has pledged to support reconstruction efforts in the southern port city of Aden, which has suffered damage in the country's war and from extremist groups. [Fouad al-Harazi/Al-Mashareq]

The Yemeni government recently declared its commitment to funding the reconstruction of the southern port city of Aden, which has suffered damage in the country's civil war and in terror attacks carried out by extremists.

Minister of Public Works and Roads Wahi Aman and Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obaid bin Dagher recently met to discuss ways to support the reconstruction of damaged homes in Aden.

During the October 3rd meeting, Bin Dagher stressed the government’s commitment to funding the reconstruction effort, and asked that Aman address the issues that have delayed reconstruction, Yemeni media reported.

A few days earlier, during a government-sponsored celebration in Aden to commemorate the 54th anniversary of the September 26th Revolution, Bin Dagher also stressed the importance of the reconstruction effort for Aden.

The government will begin reconstruction projects in Crater, al-Mualla and al-Tawahi districts, he said, followed by Khour, Makassar and the remaining provincial districts, in addition to Lahj province.

The Reconstruction Fund of Abyan province also will be re-activated to assist in the reconstruction effort, he added.

The government will take immediate steps to restore security and stability in the liberated areas and to normalise people’s lives and make sure all receive equal treatment under the law, he said.

"The city of Aden was and will remain for all Yemenis a haven of tolerance and fraternity that fosters a sense of belonging to Yemen," he said.

Ongoing survey of damage

"The Public Works Bureau has completed its survey of damaged private property," said Director General of Public Works for Aden Hussain al-Aqrabi. "The survey for damaged government property and tourist locations is still ongoing."

An implementation unit for the reconstruction effort has been formed following a decision from the Prime Minister’s office, he said.

"We have started to put together all the necessary documents to start the procurement process, with tenders for contractors to implement the reconstruction effort," he told Al-Mashareq.

Reconstruction is slated to begin soon with an estimated $2 million in local financing that can be increased to $7 million, he said, expressing his hope that donors will pitch in to help with the reconstruction effort.

The cost of reconstruction in Aden has been estimated to cost up to $77 million, based on estimates from the Public Works Bureau.

"The donors, particularly the Saudi Fund, will provide financing for the reconstruction of Aden when we officially start the process," he said.

Residents in need of help

The results of the survey of damaged buildings show that 11,711 houses were either partially or completely destroyed and will require rebuilding and rehabilitation, he said.

"The city of Aden had been through a period of war and conflict up until it was liberated, and is now under a legitimate government," he said.

Its residents have been affected by the war, conflict and violence, and need urgent help to rebuild their homes, particularly those that have been completely damaged, said Aden shop owner Salim Awadh told Al-Mashareq.

"This will ease the financial burden on such home owners," he said.

"Many local residents submitted loan applications so they can repair their damaged homes," said Najwa Fadhil of the Aden Microfinance Foundation.

But this will require the allocation of large amounts of money, which the foundation does not have, she said.

Maintaining security

"The city of Aden has been a battleground," strategic expert Adnan al-Humairi told Al-Mashareq.

In addition to the divisions afflicting state institutions, the city has suffered acts of terrorism perpetrated by extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL)," he said.

These armed groups have carried out large-scale attacks that have damaged nearby homes as well as infrastructure and tourist locations, he said.

"This has significantly impacted residents and their sense of security, as Yemenis still feel their security and stability are at risk," he said.

The success of the reconstruction effort primarily hinges on "continued government control of Aden and adjacent provinces", he added.

This will guarantee security and stability, he said, and will send positive signals to donors who will be more confident in taking part in reconstruction.

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This is just quakery.