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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Aden – Mohammed Nasser

Starvation Stampede in Sanaa Proves Tragic Reality Imposed by Houthis

A picture distributed by the Houthis shows scattered clothes at the site of the stampede in Sanaa (AFP)

Dozens of Yemeni families quietly mourned their children who died in the stampede that occurred in Sanaa days ago, as hundreds gathered at a school to receive cash assistance distributed by a commercial group.

Among them was Fatima, 60, who lost three of her sons, as they hoped to get some money to help their family celebrate Eid al-Fitr.

After approximately 85 people were killed and over 150 were injured while attempting to receive cash assistance of no more than $9, the mourning families opted to bury their loved ones without awaiting the results of the investigation pledged by Houthi authorities.

Instead, they agreed to receive a sum of $2,000 from zakat revenues as compensation for each family. Additionally, Sanaa’s Union of Chambers of Commerce resolved to award each family $5,000 as restitution for their losses.

Mohammed, Fatima’s neighbor, says that since the Houthi rebels cut off salaries for employees seven years ago, her deceased husband’s salary was lost. She was determined not to send her sons to fight with the Houthis, as joining their camps became the only way to obtain a monthly salary and monthly food rations.

According to Mohammed, Fatima has been struggling, selling handmade crafts, and making incense.

When she learned that the commercial group would distribute $9 to each person on that fateful night, she encouraged her three sons to attend to get a sum that would help cover the expenses of Eid al-Fitr, but she lost all three of her sons.

The Houthis tried to use the incident, which remains shrouded in doubt, as a pretext to attack the commercial group that was distributing aid funds. They stormed the group’s offices and arrested two of its owners.

However, the Yemeni people have held the Houthi group responsible for the country’s dire situation, which began with the coup, continued with the seizure of employees’ salaries and state revenues, and culminated in the imposition of multiple taxes and the doubling of zakat amounts.

The group has also siphoned off billions of riyals and allocated them to its leaders and supervisors.

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