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Fighting in Amran paralyzes Hajja.

SANA'A, July 2--Residents of Hajja governorate are in need of urgent assistance due to ongoing fighting in nearby Amran governorate between the 310th Armored Brigade and Houthi rebels which resulted in the electricity lines linking the two governorates being cut 20 days ago, leaving residents of Hajja without power. Repairs to the electricity wires were prevented when unidentified militants fired on repair workers Sunday.

"The electricity in Hajja has been off for about 20 days. The governorate will experience a humanitarian crisis if the situation continues unresolved," said Ali Hassan, a local journalist in Hajja who reports for the state-run Al-Jumhoria newspaper.

A technical team from the state-run Public Electricity Corporation failed last Sunday to repair the damaged electricity wires in Amran after unidentified militants fired at the team, according to the Defense Ministry's website.

Two people accompanying the technical team were shot at and injured: Ahmed Ameen Al-Qudami, the son of the Hajja Local Council's secretary general, and Abdullah Utaifa, a guard for the secretary general. The secretary general was not harmed in the incident.

The Houthis, an armed group based in Sa'ada, and Islah, the main opposition party, exchanged accusations over the incident through their respective websites. The Houthis maintain that the commander of the 310th Armored Brigade is loyal to the Islah Party.

Much of Hajja's water supply has also been cut off as a result of the electricity cut. According to Hassan, two major public hospitals have partially suspended operations due to the lack of electricity, fuel and water. Hotels in Harad and Abs, two major cities in the governorate, have been forced to close.

There has been an increase in the price of diesel on the black market in Hajja, from YR4,000 ($18.6) per 20 liters to YR9,000 ($41.8). The official subsidized price is YR2,000 ($9.3).

Even operations at the Al-Tawal border crossing with Saudi Arabia in Harad were suspended for hours on Monday and Tuesday because the computers were inoperable due to the lack of electricity, according to Khaled Al-Bajili, the on-duty security operations officer in Harad.

"Nobody can find even a cool bottle of water in Hajja because there is no electricity," said Hassan. "The people are running out of patience and violence might be triggered at any time because of the government's neglect."

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Jul 3, 2014
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