Government allocates YR5 billion to reconstruct Amran

from Yemen Times
Published on 23 Jul 2014 View Original

Published on 24 July 2014 in News
Ali Saeed (author)

SANA’A, July 23—President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi announced during a visit to Amran city on Wednesday that the government allocated YR5 billion ($23 million) to reconstruct battle-damaged Amran city, 50km north of the capital Sana’a.

President Hadi was accompanied by several government officials to Amran city, which was his first visit since being elected on Feb. 21, 2012.

The financial allocation to reconstruct Amran was initially declared by the Cabinet on Monday during a meeting to discuss the impact of the conflict in Amran.

The Cabinet established an executive unit for the reconstruction of Amran, composed of technicians from all concerned state departments, to calculate the damage and support reconstruction efforts, the state-run Saba News Agency reported.

According to the Cabinet, the YR5 billion for reconstruction is an initial allocation, with additional aid pending further assessment by the executive unit. The executive unit will be run by the governor of Amran.

Amran city sustained massive damages during the more than two months of fighting between a military unit, backed by Sunni tribesmen, and the Shia Houthis rebels. Damage to state departments, residents houses and property, municipal infrastructure, and an unknown number of casualties resulted from the conflict.

The Cabinet also said that the government’s actions in Amran must be accompanied by humanitarian efforts to decrease the suffering of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and assist the Ministry of Health in treating injured persons. The Cabinet tasked the defense and interior ministries with enforcing the rule of law in the city and protecting state offices.

The government until now has not said how many people were killed or detained by the Houthis. It did, however, repeatedly demand that the Houthis release detainees, return bodies of the deceased, hand over weapons stolen from military camps, and evacuate their militants from the city.

It is not clear if the government has sufficient funds to allocate YR5 billion to the reconstruction of Amran. The government called on Monday for a meeting with donor organizations to mobilize humanitarian and relief support for Amran.

The Houthis, who have controlled Sa’ada governorate since March 2011, took over Amran city on July 8, killed the commander of the 310th Armored Brigade, and stole weaponry of the brigade.

The clashes in Amran city have caused many residents to flee their home town, leading to a stark increase of IDPs in Yemen.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that as of July 17 they transferred 71 bodies from Amran to Sana’a and other governorates at the request of the families of the deceased.

Farid Chrabieh, ICRC coordinator in Yemen, is quoted as saying that “under international humanitarian law, families have the right to know what has happened to missing relatives… The military authorities and armed groups must all do what they can to account for people who have gone missing, and they must give families all the information they have.”

The governor of Amran, Mohamed Saleh Shamlan, called on the displaced people who left their homes in Amran city during the fighting to return home.