Yemeni Government Expedites Efforts to Save National Currency

An emblem of the Central Bank of Yemen is seen on the bank's gate in Sana'a August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
An emblem of the Central Bank of Yemen is seen on the bank's gate in Sana'a August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
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Yemeni Government Expedites Efforts to Save National Currency

An emblem of the Central Bank of Yemen is seen on the bank's gate in Sana'a August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah
An emblem of the Central Bank of Yemen is seen on the bank's gate in Sana'a August 24, 2016. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

The Yemeni riyal rates continued to plummet against foreign currencies, putting both the internationally recognized legitimate government and Houthi coup militias alike in the dilemma of seeking to salvage a far too damaged situation, Yemeni experts said.

Government spokesman Rajih Badi said that efforts are underway to contain currency rate deterioration, and renewed official statements accusing the Houthi militias of looting national cash reserves.

Badi pointed towards documented information on Iranian attempts to print counterfeit Yemeni currency to the coup’s benefit.

Badi had said earlier that “the presidency of the Republic, the Council of Ministers, Central Bank and the competent state organs, are making extraordinary efforts to develop effective solutions to stop the unacceptable exchange rates deterioration”.

More so, Badi was quoted as saying that authorities were "intensifying communication" with the Saudis, to "expedite the completion of Saudi depository procedures."

Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi's government officially moved the central bank in 2016 from Sana’a to his base in Aden. A separate branch still operates in Sana’a under the Houthis.

The price of the Yemeni riyal continued to sink against the dollar exceeding the barrier of 500 riyals per dollar, signaling a complex humanitarian crisis in terms of rising commodity prices and the deterioration of the living standard of millions of Yemenis.

Leader of the Houthi so-called Supreme Political Council Saleh al-Samad held an emergency meeting with senior coup security, political and economic leaders in an effort to roll back on the "insane dredging" practiced by insurgents against the national economy since the coup.

Samad also held external parties responsible for the collapse of the Yemeni currency and asked the group's officials to work on finding solutions, pro-militia sources said.

Houthis’ news agency Saba said that Samad ordered forming a financial and monetary committee, and demanded reforming the mechanisms so that oil and gas revenues are allocated to the Central Bank.

He also called for implementing measures on curbing currency manipulation by local exchangers.

Last week, the Houthi militias resorted to ‘security’ solutions to stop the currency's slide, storming banks and exchange outlets and forcibly confiscating large sums of money.



Food Piles Up at Gaza Crossing as Aid Agencies Say Unable to Work

Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
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Food Piles Up at Gaza Crossing as Aid Agencies Say Unable to Work

Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP
Humanitarian aid for Gaza has piled up at a crucial border crossing - AFP

Days after Israel announced a daily pause in fighting on a key route to allow more aid into Gaza, chaos in the besieged Palestinian territory has left vital supplies piled up and undistributed in the searing summer heat, AFP reported.

More than eight months of war, sparked by Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel, have led to dire humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip and repeated UN warnings of famine.

Desperation among Gaza's 2.4 million population has increased as fighting rages, sparking warnings from agencies that they are unable to deliver aid.

Israel says it has let supplies in and called on agencies to step up deliveries.

"The breakdown of public order and safety is increasingly endangering humanitarian workers and operations in Gaza," the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, said in a briefing late Friday.

"Alongside the fighting, criminal activities and the risk of theft and robbery has effectively prevented humanitarian access to critical locations."

But Israel says it has allowed hundreds of trucks of aid into southern Gaza, trading blame with the United Nations over why the aid is stacking up.

It shared aerial footage of containers lined up on the Gazan side of the Kerem Shalom crossing and more trucks arriving to add to the stockpile.

With civil order breaking down in Gaza, the UN says it has been unable to pick up any supplies from Kerem Shalom since Tuesday, leaving crucial aid in limbo.

A deputy UN spokesman this week said the crossing "is operating with limited functionality, including because of fighting in the area".

William Schomburg, International Committee of the Red Cross chief in Rafah, said arranging lorries from the Egyptian side in particular was complicated.

"It's not just a question of civil order, but also the fact that you often have to cross battlefields," he said in an online briefing, adding that the area near Kerem Shalom had been hostile.

"There were even rockets fired nearby. So this whole area is particularly complicated to navigate for reasons linked to the hostilities and for reasons linked to general security."

Israel's coordinator for civilian affairs in the Palestinian territories, known as COGAT, said Thursday "the content of 1,200 aid trucks awaits collection by UN aid agencies", saying a lack of distribution was responsible.

Earlier in the week, COGAT spokesman Shimon Freedman told reporters at the crossing the daily pause on a southern road into Gaza was designed to allow the UN "to collect and distribute more aid" alongside an Israeli military presence.

He said most of the aid had not moved because "organizations have not taken sufficient steps to improve their distribution capacity".

Aid agencies have instead pointed to Israel's offensive on the southern city of Rafah, which pushed out more than a million people and closed a border crossing with Egypt, as a deepening humanitarian crisis hampered relief efforts.

Schomburg described Rafah City as a "ghost town".

"It is a ghost town in the sense that you see very few people, high levels of destruction, and really just another symbol of the unfolding tragedy that has become Gaza over the last nine months," he said.

The UN food agency has said its aid convoys have been looted inside Gaza by "desperate people".

As both sides stall, it is the civilians in Gaza who are paying the price.

"We don't see any aid. Everything we get to eat comes from our own money and it's all very expensive," said Umm Mohammad Zamlat, 66, from northern Gaza but now living in Khan Yunis in the south.

"Even agencies specialized in aid deliveries are not able to provide anything to us," she added.