80 percent of Abyan locals without money

24 Oct
Displaced locals appeals to human rights organizations: ” We need to be heard”
Nearly 30,000 people from Abyan have fled their homes since May, many have been forced to live in schools in Aden.Malak Shaher

Yemen Times

Published:24-10-2011

Sana’a, Oct. 23 — At least 80 percent of locals from Abyan have stopped taking loans from banks and fled to Aden over the last four months of political crisis, according to Khalil Almikhlafi from the Yemen Microfinance Network (YMN).

Almikhlafi said even the office of the YMN, which coordinates loans between banks and the public, was plundered when employees were unable to come into work due to the shelling in Abyan.

The network’s office in Abyan was coordinating loans between 4,700 women with micro-businesses and banks.

“Everything including the computers, the desks, the doors and the windows were stolen,” said Almikhlafi.

Since Abyan was first shelled US drones and the Yemeni government fighting jihadists, some 30,000 people have become internally displaced people (IDPs) living in Aden’s schools.

Sa’eda Abdulla, is a 50-year-old woman who was earning a living making incense. She had been taking loans – not more than USD 100 – from banks offering micro-loans to poor people, almost all of whom are women.

Now Abdulla and hundreds more like her have stopped taking loans and no longer have any source of income.

“We escaped because of the panic, because of the planes [areal shelling] and because of the blasts,” said Abdulla who lives now in Aden with her family in a small house they rented in Al-Arish.

“We have no electricity, no water – we need help, and we need to be heard.”

Almikhlafi said that the two biggest offices in the company’s network, in Abyan and in Al-Shiher, Hadramout, have now closed completely and the firm’s employees might be laid off due to financial difficulties.

Awatef Abdulla, from the YMN’s office in Aden, said that almost 98 percent of their clients were women. She said that a large amount of them were no longer taking loans and had defaulted on their previous debts.

Aerial shelling by American drones and the Yemeni air force, have killed many Al-Qaeda members in Yemen but have also caused thousands of people to flee their homes since May.

According to Anees Mansor, a freelance reporter from Aden, there are now nearly 30,000 IDPs in Aden, with a large number forced to live in schools.

Mansoor said that the situation of the IDPs, especially those who live in schools, was becoming increasingly difficult.

“In some places, three families live in the same class. Even the support they receive, like food and clothes, is not enough,” he said.

There is only two restrooms, with five toilets each, in every school in Aden, he added. According to Mansoor, nearly 60 schools in Aden are now occupied by IDPs from Abyan.

“Their life is really miserable,” he said. “The people of Abyan suffer now not because they fled their homes but because the infrastructure was destroyed in Abyan due to the shelling.”

However, it is not only the IDPs of Abyan living in schools that suffer because of this situation. Those who live with their relatives or in rented houses say they have spent almost everything they have.

Hanan Abdulla, a 32- year-old woman of Abyan, said that she left Abyan with her family after the shelling began to threaten their lives.

They came to Aden late in May looking for a house to rent. She was one of the many women who stopped taking loans for her sewing business.

“When we came to Aden, we had to sell some of the gold jewelry we [me and my mother] had”, said Hanan. “We are afraid that soon we will have no money since have no source of income.”

http://yementimes.com/defaultdet.aspx?SUB_ID=34710

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