A precarious living on the Yemeni island of Socotra
Crisis in Yemen has left island residents, who depend largely on the mainland for food, scrambling to purchase goods.
Socotra island, Yemen – On January 7, hours before the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo were stormed by gunmen, a car bomb exploded near a police academy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, killing dozens of people.
Repercussions of the explosion, which targeted Houthi fighters and civilians, could be felt hundreds of kilometres away on the Yemeni island of Socotra. The island is home to about 50,000 people and is 90 percent dependant on the mainland for its food supply, said tour operator Radwan Mobarak Ali – so it came as no surprise that the car bomb, and subsequent seizing of the presidential palace by Houthi rebels, prompted a rush on essential supplies among island inhabitants.
The current power vacuum in Yemen has left Socotra, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in a precarious situation. Concerned about the rise in food, fuel and gas prices, islanders have scrambled to purchase goods in the island’s capital, Hadibo. Budgets for infrastructure and recreation have also dropped amid the turmoil, island residents say – and because all flights to Socotra require a stopover on the mainland, tourism has also taken a hit.