Reconstruction of damaged homes and farms in Abyan to cost YR21 billion

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Rammah Al-Jubari (author)

ABYAN, March 13 — The Abyan Reconstruction Fund (ARF) released the results of a survey assessing the extent and costs of damage to homes and farms in Abyan as a result of clashes that have taken place between government forces and the Al-Qaeda affiliated group Ansar Al-Shaira over the past two years.

The head of ARF, Nasser Al-Yafe’i told the Yemen Times that 12,615 homes and 3,282 farms were damaged or destroyed in Abyan during the clashes. Reconstruction efforts are estimated to cost YR21 billion, almost $100 million.

An internally displaced person, Ahmed Al-Sultan, told the Yemen Times that he and other IDPs are eager to return to their homes.

“Ansar Al-Sharia destroyed my home. I have been in a Lahj school sheltering IDPs for about two years. I hope all concerned authorities will end our desperate predicament and provide money for reconstruction,” he said.

Reconstruction costs are to be paid in three installments. Of the initial YR7 billion ($33 million) installment, 70 percent will be paid by the state treasury, and the remainder will be covered by international donors. The final two installments are expected to be allocated in late 2013, Al-Yafe’i said.

Payments will be made to home and farm owners, under the supervision of architects to ensure the money goes directly for reconstruction, Al-Yafe’i said.

The coordinator for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Abyan, Nabeel Al-Amoodi, doesn’t believe government officials, particularly local officials, are serious about reconstruction efforts in Abyan. He says there is a lack of transparency for funds provided by donors.

Beginning in 2011, Abyan witnessed fierce clashes between military forces and Ansar Al-Sharia as a result of a security vaccum caused by the popular uprising. Militants were able to take control of Zinjibar and Jaar for over a year. Popular committees, with the support of state military forces, were able to regain control in mid-June 2012.