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Sanaa Flooded With Waste Amid Houthi Indifference

Sanaa Flooded With Waste Amid Houthi Indifference

Tuesday, 31 March, 2020 - 10:30
A volunteer sprays antiseptic in a Sanaa neighborhood (AFP)
Sanaa- Asharq Al-Awsat

Despite a large amount of royalties and humanitarian aid collected by the Houthi group in Sanaa, Yemen, the city is drowning in trash and wastewater, local residents reported. Houthi militias had overrun the former capital in 2014.

The waste crisis in Sanaa is a health hazard facing a population of over three million as many of the city’s streets, alleyways and neighborhoods are flooded with trash piles. This coincides with fears of a coronavirus outbreak.

Locals told Asharq Al-Awsat that toxic piles of garbage now cover a number of main streets and residential neighborhoods, and that pungent odors fill the air. They also reported a lack of response on behalf of Houthi authorities, something which is aggravating the situation.

According to local residents, the reason behind the accumulation of trash remains unknown, with some suggesting that it could have to do with cleaners going on strike over not being paid or other reasons.

Residents in Sanaa, in light of the spread of epidemics and deadly viruses, demanded that the Houthi group assumes its responsibilities towards the health and life of Yemenis and accelerate the process of clearing the garbage in the city.

A neighborhood official in Sanaa, speaking under condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that "the Houthi group continues to deliberately ignore this dangerous environmental problem and has not taken any measures to fix it.”

“The Houthi group continues to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to get its hands on international aid, as it did with other diseases that had struck Yemen,” the official added.

Reports confirm that, since the beginning of the Houthi coup, the population of Sanaa suffers from a complete absence of basic services. Houthis have privatized public institutions and spend royalties they collect on their war effort.

Local organizations and volunteers complained about Houthi obstacles that face their work after the Iran-backed group refused to grant them permits needed to implement epidemic prevention projects in Sanaa.

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