Government funds reconstruction efforts in Saada

The reconstruction and rehabilitation of hundreds of conflict-affected private properties in the impoverished northern governorate of Saada, is well under way, according to the Saada Reconstruction Fund (SRF), a recently-formed government body under the Cabinet.

A new seven-month campaign began in March and is aimed at reviving development and maintaining peace after a four-year conflict between government forces and a group of Shia rebels.

Some 1,340 houses and 114 private farms in four areas are to be targeted, according to SRF, and the government is funding the effort to the tune of US$6,000,000.

Mohammed Abdullah Thabet, SRF executive director, told IRIN damage assessment committees in Saada had discovered 7,284 houses, 1,421 farms, 94 schools and dozens of public facilities damaged during the conflict.

He explained that SRF had signed contracts with citizens under which the latter are obliged to renovate their damaged properties. “They are then given funds to start reconstruction. The money is paid to them in installments and according to the extent of the damage," Thabet said.

He said the scheme had been effective in providing jobs and helping the displaced return home.

Reconstruction work would be supervised by SRF teams consisting of two engineers.

SRF began the first reconstruction phase in January 2009, targeting 901 houses in four other parts of Saada. The new campaign is “phase two”.

“The first phase was 76 percent achieved,” said Thabet, explaining that the entire reconstruction and rehabilitation of Saada would take two years.

SRF has drafted a four-year development plan for Saada focusing on education, health, water and roads, but more funds are needed, he said.