The Yemen Crisis Harms Its Trees

Firewood Pilse on Commercial Street in Al Mansourah, Aden

The fear of an environmental crisis, in addition to Yemen’s ongoing crises, is not to be taken lightly.

Yemen reels under a severe fuel crisis, coinciding with an acute shortage in cooking gas. The price of a cooking gas canister has skyrocketed to 8,000 YER [37.23 USD] since mid-September 2015.

Residents have resorted to gathering and purchasing firewood, in addition to other rudimentary methods, due to price increase for scarce cooking gas. Since the outbreak of the current crisis in March 2015, the cost of a bundle of firewood has increased by 300% — previously priced at 700 YER [3.26 USD] and jumping to 2,000 YER [9.31 USD].

Wood for Sale at Al Madinah Grocery and Bakery, Al Mansourah, Aden

Wood for Sale at Al Madinah Grocery and Bakery, Al Mansourah, Aden

Informal businesses have sprung up across the war-torn nation selling wood on street corners, or hauling it on camels and donkeys around neighborhoods. Households are cutting down trees and shrubs in an effort to address the firewood demand, eradicating vegetation and eroding the soil.

Forests are 2.70% of total land area in Yemen. Such actions will affect the flora and fauna — already suffering from drought — in addition to the health and safety hazards linked to the usage of firewood in closed spaces.