The past year has been a challenging one for Yemen. The country descended into civil war, with the Saudi-backed government battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels for control of the country. Amid this conflict, Governor Lamlas is trying to rebuild Aden and make it a functioning city again. However, his efforts are hindered by power outages, lack of resources, and corruption.
Despite the challenges, Lamlas remains optimistic about Aden’s future. He is hopeful that the city can be rebuilt and its people will thrive again. However, he recognises that this will only be possible if the leaders of Yemen are willing to work together for the country’s good rather than striving for personal power.
“If the leaders of Yemen want to save the country, they must put aside their differences and work together. Only then will Yemen be able to prosper.” – Governor Lamlas.
During this time of turmoil, Yemen’s leaders are more important than ever to work together for the country’s good. Lamlas’ words provide a powerful reminder that only through unity can Yemen hope to overcome its current challenges.
A few years back, governor Lamlas drove me around to show the progress of reviving war-torn neighbourhoods in the Yemeni city of Aden. We came to a stop in front of a half-collapsed building.
“This is the Aden Hotel,” he said. “It was once known for hosting lavish weddings. But now, it’s just a reminder of the fighting here.”
The hotel had been hit by shelling years prior, and its facade was pockmarked with gaping holes. Lamas told me he wanted to put up billboards around the city to boost the morale of citizens frustrated by the slow pace of reconstruction. But as he acknowledged, his entire budget would not cover the cost of just one billboard.
The war between the Saudi-backed government and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels has devastated Yemen. More than 100,000 people have been killed, and over 3 million have been displaced. The country is also on the brink of famine, with nearly 16 million people—60 per cent of the population—not knowing where their next meal will come from.
Amid this devastation, Lamlas is trying to rebuild Aden and make it a functioning city again. However, his efforts are hindered by power outages, lack of resources, and corruption.
This turmoil provoked its citizens to contemplate a time when the city was known as “the Dubai of its era.” Queen Elizabeth II visited in 1954, less than a year after her coronation, hailing the city as an “outstanding example of colonial development.” Decades later, a Yemeni hotel still promoted the legend that she had spent a night in one of its rooms, decking out a “Royal Suite” with photographs of Her Majesty.
But what happened to Aden since then?
The answer lies in the country’s civil war. The conflict has lasted for over four years, with no end. The Saudi-backed government is battling Iran-backed Houthi rebels for control of the country. This power struggle has led to devastating consequences for the Yemeni people.
What do you think are the chances of Lamlas achieving his goal?
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