Aden and the Clinic

Archdeacon in The Gulf, the Venerable Bill Schwartz, sends this update from the Yemeni war zone as at September 2016


The clinic staff continue to devote their time and expertise to address a myriad of eye problems, from simple cataract to wounds from the violence, to extraordinary conditions resulting from accidents etc. Cooperation with MSF continues and the patients continue to come to the clinic in large numbers.  Mansour tells me that the compound is safe, and that the staff feel safe working there. 

Just this week Mansour told me that the police service is coming back in function, and that civil authority is beginning to take shape. This is strongly supported by aid and expertise from the UAE, who have also been instrumental in restoring electricity supply back to the capacity the people enjoyed before the fighting started. (That means four hours on and four hours off most days.) The regularity of electric supply is a great benefit to the people. Diesel, water and other basics are no longer so scarce, though prices are still very high in respect to people’s ability to pay.

Aden airport (Yemenia) services two flights to Cairo and two to Amman every week, though because of the limited space passengers need a permit based on a significant reason for them to travel. Priority is given to aid workers and government passengers.  Radicals continue to attack the airport just to maintain their destabilising influence. It is widely believed that Ali Abdullah Saleh is funding those who are identifying themselves as IS or Al Qa’eda in Aden. The going ‘reward’ for suicide bombers is $15,000.

Those who attacked the Sisters of Charity compound some months ago have been captured. In their confessions they said they were supposed to have killed only the foreigners, but they got carried away and that they didn’t mean to kill Muslims. There is no word about the whereabouts or safety of Fr Tom, the Catholic priest who was kidnapped during that attack.

There is no indication of when it might be possible or safe for people to visit, much less place foreign staff in Aden. Kidnapping is still a major worry, with big money involved for those who engage in the kidnapping industry. Life there is still a long way from what normal used to be, but it is encouraging to know that order is slowly being reestablished. One can only imagine how education will pick up once it is time for schools to open.

Much to give thanks, for; and much to pray for.

Bill Schwartz, Sep 5 2016

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