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Paved roads in Yemen – a pathway to saving lives and bringing back jobs to Amran’s rural areas

A scenic mountain road with rocks and shrubs winding through the landscape.

Alasha road after being paved. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

Alasha road after being paved. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

After more than eight years of conflict, millions of people in Yemen are suffering from the compounded effects of armed violence, ongoing economic crisis and disrupted public services. According to the UN, in 2023, an estimated 21.6 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection services.

Eight years of conflict have curtailed the country’s economic growth, job creation and labor productivity. Prior to the conflict, much of the country’s working population was engaged in unskilled labor, employed in small businesses and working in rural agriculture. However, the current conflict has left millions of Yemenis unable to support themselves and their families.

Faeed, a 45-year-old father of 10 is from Alasha district, Amran Governorate, situated in the north of Yemen. He used to have a governmental job, which was his main source of income. He was able to provide the essentials for his family and used to have a simple but stable life. “I was able to pay for my children’s education, afford to pay for medical needs in case of sickness among the family members and provide them with daily needs,” says Faeed.

A man in a hard white helmet standing in front of rocks
Faeed is a participant in road pavement activity supported by CARE, in Alasha district. Photo: Abdulrahman Alhobishi/CARE

After the war, millions of Yemeni workers have lost their jobs and have therefore been left without an income. The lack of regular salary payment, together with the decline in remittances, high unemployment rate and climate shocks, are having a devastating impact on livelihoods of the already vulnerable Yemeni population. “I haven’t received my salary for six years which has worsened our life condition. I can’t pay for my children’s education and can’t provide the daily essentials for my family. It’s getting harder and harder every day,” says Faeed.

Like many, Faeed tried to find any kind of work to secure an income for his family, but due to the current economic conditions – with accelerated inflation, currency depreciation and falling incomes – it has been difficult for him to find a job. “I had to stop hoping I’d get back to a steady job and instead try to find any daily wage work to help me with the family daily needs,” Faeed states. “My daughter also had to leave school and help with daily water provision. The bumpy road in our village adds to our suffering since we pay more to be able to access public services. Car drivers used to charge more to move in and out of the village. Some school children had to also drop out due to the danger of the road.”

Residents have even had to carry family members and pregnant women in need of urgent medical care on a bier to the nearest health center to receive health treatment. “When my wife was pregnant with our third child, it was difficult to take her to the hospital and we were stuck in the middle of the road due to its arduous status. I paid more than usual for transportation to the hospital,” says Faeed.  For a long time, locals had no choice but to transport food and essential items by donkey, on their own backs, or by motorbike.

CARE recognizes the need to improve basic living conditions and to strengthen the resilience of conflict-affected communities and families in the rural areas such as Alasha district in Yemen’s Amran Governorate. Through support from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), CARE has worked to provide integrated and durable solutions for local residents. This has involved distribution of cash assistance to meet immediate needs while the community participate in wall construction efforts as well as 1.3km of road pavements. Through this intervention, 700 local residents who are hired as workers receive 50,000 Yemeni Rials (YER) for four cycles.

“Thanks to the support we received, we’ve acquired the skill of building and paving and also at the same time have secured an income for four months. The road is much better now and people’s movement in and out of the village is easier. Transportation cost is not as expensive as it used to be,” says Faeed who hopes such projects continue to be implemented not only in his village but also in the surrounding villages as well.  “I hope the next generation will not suffer from the hardship of movement in and out of the village as we did. This new road is something that is going to remain with us for the long term.

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