Water dispute claims two more lives in Taiz

News and Press Release
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Amal Al-Yarisi (author)

TAIZ, March 27 — Despite an increase in security measures announced earlier this month, two more men were killed on Friday in an ongoing dispute between the neighboring villages of Qurada and Al-Mirzah.

The villages—which are in the outskirts of the city, in Sabir district—have been fighting sporadically for nearly a decade over access to a natural spring which lies between the two. One man from each village was killed: Akram Abdulrahman Qatan, from Qurada, and Abdullah Sadeq Mohammad, from Al-Mirzah.

Following the latest deaths, Dirhm Abu Fare’, Security Manager of Sabir district said local forces would once more be intensifying their efforts. Suspects were apprehended and taken to a penal court in Taiz, Abu Fare’ said.

“Law will take its course, and investigations are underway,” he said, adding that tribal mediation is also playing a major role in resolving the dispute.

Though a judicial verdict in 2003 ruled that access to the spring would be mutual (with the lion’s share going to Qurada), recent events have caused authorities to fear that there could be more violence.

Taiz—one of the driest and most populated cities in the country—is facing a serious water crisis. Abdu Al-Samd, the head of General Authority of Water Resources in Taiz, said that water consumption is on the rise. Few residents have access to information about how they can do their part and conserve water, he said.

The government is looking for solutions to this country-wide water shortage.

Yemen’s first water desalination facility is expected to finish construction this year in Mocha, according to the Ministry of Water and Environment. Yemen has the longest sea coast in the Middle East (over 2,000 kilometers of shoreline), and it’s expected this desalination project will provide much-needed fresh water to this parched country.