Conflicts & War

Kilometers-long lines for fuel in Houthi-held areas of Yemen

Sana’a, Jun 22 (efe-epa).- Vehicles queued in kilometers-long lines in the Houthi-held areas northern and western Yemen Monday in search of fuel amid a mounting supply shortage the rebels have blamed on the Saudi-led coalition. 

In Sana’a, some drivers, like Ibrahim Abbas, have been waiting for two or three days to get fuel. He sleeps in his car during the night.

Abbas, a taxi driver, had to push his car for 700 meters after it ran out of fuel before reaching the queue at a fuel station.

“The line is too long and the station pumps for only four hours a day,” Abbas told Efe.

Other drivers had to leave their cars in the lines in front of the gas stations and get back home using public transportation.

“If it takes two or three or even five more days to refuel, we will wait because there is no other option,” Amr Ali al-Saiaari, 18, who rotates the mission of keeping the car in the queue with his father, told Efe.

The Houthi-run Yemen Oil Company in Sana’a said in a statement on Sunday that 15 oil tanker ships carrying around 420,000 metric tonnes of petrol and diesel destined to the Red Sea port of Hodeidah had been held by the Saudi-led coalition for more than 90 days.

 “The suffering of the Yemeni people is compounded by the continued seizure by the coalition of oil derivative ships,” the company said in its statement.

Yemen, hit by a conflict that sparked five years ago between the rebels and the internationally-recognized government, imports around 70 percent of its food and fuel through the Houthi-held Hodeidah port.

Both parties vowed in an agreement signed in December 2018 to retire from Hodeidah and another two nearby ports, but this clause has yet to be implemented and incidents have repeatedly taken place involving ships.

“The remaining stocks of petrol and diesel have reached a critical stage and it is not sufficient to supply the most vital sectors within their minimum limits, which will lead to the suspension of all sectors during the coming hours and days,” it said.

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