Security

Cash-strapped Yemenis find ways to enjoy Eid

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa

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Yemeni families enjoy the Wadi Bana waterfalls in Ibb province during the Eid al-Adha holiday. [Abu Bakr al-Yamani/Al-Mashareq]

The insecurity and economic hardships brought on by the war have seen many Yemenis heading for their home villages or rural areas famous for their wadis and waterfalls for the Eid al-Adha holiday, rather than coastal cities.

Public sector employee Abdul Latif Ali, 32, told Al-Mashareq he decided to spend the Eid holiday in Wadi Bana in the Ibb province countryside with his brothers.

Wadi Bana is famous for its scenery and its abundance of waterfalls, he said.

"I also traveled to my village to spend the days of the Eid with my father, as costs there are low and we are having a family reunion," he said.

Public sector employee Salem Omar, 37, told Al-Mashareq he planned to travel to his home province of al-Mahwit for the holiday, which is "famous for its green wadis, such as Wadi al-Ahjar".

This will give him "a breathing space and offer a change of scenery and a break from the daily routine in the city", he said.

In previous years, he said, he would spend the Eid holiday in the coastal provinces of Aden and al-Hodeida.

"However, the non-disbursement of salaries, security situation and circumstances of the war forced me to take the family and spend the Eid al-Adha holiday in Wadi al-Ahjar instead," he said.

Financial and security concerns

Morshed Saleh, 42, who works for a telecommunications company, told Al-Mashareq he decided to stay in Sanaa for Eid al-Adha this year, having travelled to Aden on previous holidays.

On the second day of Eid, he said, he planned to take his wife and two children to the Bani Matar waterfall, approximately 70 kilometres outside of the city.

Saleh expressed his hope that the war would end, and that life would return to normal once more, as he looks forward to spending Eid in Aden again.

Economist Abdul Jalil Hassan told Al-Mashareq that many Yemenis have chosen to spend the Eid al-Adha holiday in rural areas, particularly those famous for their natural beauty, because of financial and security concerns.

"Yemen is characterised by its diverse climate that changes from one region to another, and its many wadis that are green almost year-round," he said.

These include Wadi Bana in Ibb province, Wadi al-Ahjar in al-Mahweet, Wadi Sardoud in al-Hodeida and Wadi al-Dabab in Taez, he said.

Hassan said the non-disbursement of salaries to government employees over the past 10 months has driven many people home to their villages or rural area.

Many Yemenis are favouring the countryside over coastal cities due to security concerns and the low cost of spending the holiday in the countryside, economist Abdo al-Wajihi told Al-Mashareq.

In many cases, they can stay with family members and reduce the cost of the holiday by sharing the expenses, he added.

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