Thu, May 26, 2022

international

Jobless Yemenis live off motorbike taxis to survive war


Thousands in Yemen have turned to motorbike taxis after the years-long civil war has deprived them of jobs, land, and homes and pushed the country to the brink of starvation. "There isnt much choice in the war," a local motorbike taxi driver laments.

Thousands of Yemenis have turned to motorbike taxis to make a living after the years-long war has deprived them of jobs, land, and homes.

Amid soaring prices and the ongoing fuel crisis caused by the war, motorbike taxis have attracted Yemeni passengers increasingly in the context of traffic congestion across the Yemeni cities due to low fuel consumption, cheap fare, speed as well as agility manoeuvers during peak hours.

In the Yemeni Red Sea city of Midi, displaced Ali Faidi chose to work as a motorbike taxi driver to feed his five children after he lost his home and farm in the prolonged civil war.

"I sold my wife's jewellery and bought a motorbike to feed my family," Faidi told Xinhua.

A Yemeni man stands beside his motorcycle on Nov. 5, 2021 in Hajjah Province, northern Yemen. (Photo by Mohammed Al-Wafi/Xinhua)

The 27-year-old father recalled that "I decided to get into this business after we fled the battle that destroyed our homes, shops, and farms in our village in Haradh district four years ago ... we lost everything."

"This work is hard and dangerous, and sometimes I don't earn enough money to buy milk for my little girl," he said while staring at his right hand's index finger which was injured in a traffic accident.

Despite daily accidents reported in local media, motorcyclists across the country do not wear helmets or other safety equipment.

Mohamed Taher, a resident in the city, said he always takes a motorbike taxi to go to the market and return home.

"Taking a car taxi is very expensive and I cannot afford the fare, while the fare for a motorbike is low, even though its accidents are serious and fatal," he added.

A Yemeni man buys petrol for his motorcycle from a make-shift oil station on Nov. 5, 2021 in Hajjah Province, northern Yemen. (Photo by Mohammed Al-Wafi/Xinhua)

Another motorbike taxi driver Abdullah Kadish noted that there isn't much choice in the war.

"There are no jobs available here and no regular humanitarian aids to reach this besieged city, so I have to work all day long or my family will starve," the 55-year-old man told Xinhua.

Midi city and parts of the neighboring districts of Hayran, Abs, and Haradh in the northwestern province of Hajjah are under the governmental force's control, and the Houthi forces control the southern districts of the province.

The civil war flared up in late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia advanced from its stronghold in the northern province of Saada, seizing control of several northern provinces and forcing the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.

The war has since killed tens of thousands of Yemenis, displaced 4 million, and pushed the country to the brink of starvation.  

A Yemeni man buys petrol for his motorcycle from a make-shift oil station on Nov. 5, 2021 in Hajjah Province, northern Yemen. (Photo by Mohammed Al-Wafi/Xinhua)

Published : November 06, 2021

By : Xinhua