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UAE helps restore normal life to Aden

posted on 04/09/2015: 1691 views

Life in Aden is slowly returning to normal with the help of the UAE, which has invested millions of dirhams to restore power, water and basic services, including schools, to the Yemeni port city.

Electricity is now available for 12 hours each day in Aden city after the Emirates delivered three new diesel generators.

"We are going to restore the daily life of Aden by returning the water, electricity, health, sewage and schools,” says Brigadier General Abdullah Al Dhaheri of the UAE armed forces, who heads Aden's reconstruction committee.

The city's infrastructure is severely damaged after months of fighting between forces loyal to the government of exiled president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi and Iran-backed Houthis rebels seeking to take over the city.

The loyalist fighters were supported with air strikes, arms and training from a Saudi Arabia-led anti-rebel coalition.

The UAE plays a key role in the coalition and sent its own armed forces to join the final push to liberate the city last July.

Since then, the UAE has worked to bring relief to the shattered city's residents. Electricity is the service most urgently needed, Brig Gen Al Dhaheri says.

"The Emirates provided 65 megawatts [of electricity] at a cost of Dh1 million, and this is emergency electricity.”

The UAE will also begin paying the salaries of Yemenis working for the government-owned water and electricity corporations in Aden on Sunday.

All the workers and engineers taking part in the reconstruction of Aden are Yemenis, providing crucial employment.

Mohammed Shahinaz, 33, is a Yemeni engineer in the electricity station of Aden who is part of a team tasked with restoring electricity in Aden.

"The Emirates took the responsibility to rehabilitate the electricity station of Aden,” Mr Shahinaz tells The National.

He is delighted to know that he will finally receive his salary this Sunday from the UAE government. He has not been paid since the Houthi militias took entered Aden five months ago.

"It is enough to say that the UAE has the loyalty of all the residents in Aden,” says Mr Shahinaz.

As the main supporter of Aden's reconstruction, the UAE is paving the way for the return of Mr Hadi's government by rebuilding the presidential palace in Aden.

According to Mr Hadi's chief of staff, Mohammed Ali Marem, the UAE is focusing on government institutions before working on private institutions.

As electricity, water, food and medical needs have been addressed, the UAE is now turning its attention to schooling, which has been disrupted since the fighting between the Southern Resistance and the Houthi rebels broke out in late March.

Several schools have been destroyed completely.

"Every day I visit my damaged school in Crater district and remember my classmates and teachers ... I hope to come back again to my school to study again,” Rawan Al Aidrous, 10, a student in Shamsan school in Crater district tells The National.

"Before the war I used to be happy if there was a holiday, but now I am bored of the long holiday that we have. Now I know the value of studying,” she says.

Sami Abdullah, 11, a student from Al Mustaqbal school in Khormaskar district also longs to return to his school, but its been destroyed in the war and there are no alternative premises to hold lessons for the students.

"When I ask my father about our return to the school, he replies that we should wait for the Emirates to rebuild the school. I hope that is as soon as possible, I hope to resume my normal life after the bad war,” Sami says despondently.

He used to enjoy his time with his school friends, but has not met his classmates since the beginning of the war.

"I wish to play football in the school field again.”

Gen Al Dhaheri says there are more than 100 schools in Aden and all of them are affected by the war.

The UAE has a three-phase plan to restore school system, he says.

"The first step aims to reopen more than 60 schools in different districts in Aden after two weeks, and this is a quick step to resume education in Aden, and the schools will open in October 3,” Gen Al Dhaheri says.

He adds that the next phases will include repairing the rest of the schools, so that lessons can resume in Aden.

"The UAE is the only supporter of the schools' reconstruction, and the cost is around Dh2 million,” Gen Al Dhaheri says. – The National -


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