Crowds of citizens, men and women, and even children, are suffering, like many others, queuing in front of gas distribution stations in long lines, with a manifestation of humiliation and exploitation. Gas queues do not differ from other queues in the districts of Hadramout Governorate, the largest governorate in Yemen, which is approaching the end of the current year 2022, in light of a suffocating crisis of domestic gas shortage, which has prevented people from practicing their work. Thus, people stand in long queues for longer hours, hoping to obtain a gas cylinder at the official subsidized price of seven dollars, or eleven dollars on the black market (which increases the indicators of the continuation of the crisis and the burdens on the citizen).
This crisis has made the suffering of people multiplying day after day, as one crisis hardly ends without another appearing, and with the collapse of services and the national currency, the government and its local institutions have failed to play their active role in alleviating the misery of citizens, and meeting the most basic necessities of a decent life for them.
Concerning this crisis and its causes, a number of heads of neighborhoods and zones in Mukalla confirm that the quantities of gas cylinders that reach them from the company itself are not sufficient, and that many neighborhoods required much larger quantities. As a result, the supplied insufficient gas quantities are quickly depleted from the market and the assisted in the escalation of the crisis that the governorate is witnessing all over its districts either on the coast or in the valley.
However, Abdullah Saleh (34 years), a resident of the old Fuwah neighborhood in the city of Mukalla, says while standing in a long line waiting his turn to obtain a gas cylinder: “The lack of sufficient quantities of gas in the market led to this crisis. Thus, some weak-minded gas agents manipulated and concealed the quantities, and some citizens manipulated themselves by entering the queue more than once to obtain larger number of gas cylinders than their official share assigned to them, and then profit by selling the surplus on the black market, to reap the largest possible amount of money without taking into account the difficult living conditions that people face.
Salem Baras (37 years old), a head of a family, from Al-Dis neighborhood in Mukalla, confirms that: “Obtaining domestic gas cylinders has become a big challenge for the people, and to obtain it, you have to go through long painful competition, as people come in large crowds with gas cylinders, and begin a long line that is almost endless so that you see the beginning of it from the end. Hours pass after hours while people stand in this long line and under the scorching heat of the sun, and it may be your turn to receive your share but the quantity has run out, what a pity for you at that time!". He concluded.
Afia Saleh (an elderly woman on the threshold of fifty years, perhaps or more), is standing in a long line in the Shafi'i area in Mukalla, waiting for her turn, and she says: "How long will we stay like this? What a misery imposed on us?! We have not enjoyed our life in this country since our birth. All I remember of my old age is that we have been struggling all over our lives, and each time we face multiple recurring crises, O Lord, make it easy for us, O Merciful.”
Many citizens, - whom we have met in a long line in the Al-Massaken area in Mukalla - blamed the heads of the zones (those who in charge of distributing domestic gas cylinders to citizens) of being fully responsible for this crisis and its consequences for several reasons, as they said, on top of which: selling in huge quantities to restaurants, and the influential people of black market owners at the expense of the average citizen.
Othman Al-Amoudi (42 years old), from the Buaish area, in the city of Mukalla, calls on the government to control all those who exaggerate and manipulate the prices of domestic gas and dealers in the black market, who add illegal and unjustified costs which increases its prices. Such increment burdens the citizen and adds to the difficulty of living condition, especially for low-income people who constitute the largest segment of society. Othman also demands logical explanations from the competent authorities about the issue of the availability of domestic gas cylinders on the black market on a daily basis and at any time, at prices that reach 12,000 Yemeni riyals per cylinder, and that they are not available at the price set by the state, even on a monthly basis for citizens in various zones at the official price of 6,600 Yemeni riyals.
It is worth noting that the impacts of the domestic gas crisis are is evident in the citizen’s inability to obtain it regularly, and at the time he wants it at the official price approved by the state. However, relying on the current agencies that distribute gas to the public has become completely impossible. In fact, these agencies have become unable to provide gas more than once during one month, and sometimes for two months, in addition to their conditions that require pre-registration, delivery of empty cylinders, and then waiting for weeks or months after that, which are conditions - inevitably and unavoidably - that are not commensurate with the needs of citizens. This increases the suffering of citizens, exhausting their pockets and depleting their income, and prompts many of them to surrender their savings and sell or mortgage them to get a home gas cylinder from the black market.