In Yemen "city of refugees", panic dissipates panic

In Yemen "city of refugees", panic dissipates panic

Millions of Yemenis who escaped Houthi crackdown to the government-held Marib and made it earn the "city of refugees" title have lived in constant panic from the constant Houthi missile shelling for years. Until the recent spread of coronavirus and with it panic worldwide.

"Covid-19 is a new panic that dissipated the panic from Houthi bombardments," says Layla Al-Azzani a female sophomore at the faculty of English Language at Saba University in Marib.

"Of late the Houthis, as you might know, the Houthis stepped up the missile attacks and killed families in their houses in Aziraah and Arrowdha neighborhoods," she continues, "causing our fright to spike."    

"The spread awareness-raising messages that coronavirus is very lethal and could be caught in crowded places caused markets and socializing places to be significantly deserted and fears from the international virus to be eclipsed by fears from the threat of missiles."

Waleed Al-Wurafi, a geography teacher, said he has cancelled his plans to move from Arrowdha, a neighborhood of refugees and constant target of Houthi rockets, after he realized that "the more densely populated and crowded Al-outskirt of "Al-Wadi" would be more dangerous when it comes to infections." 

"Wherever you may be, death will overtake you," he says citing a verse from the Quran. "Yes for the time being I am thinking about the rockets, but if one infection case occurs in Al-Wadi, it will spread to everyone. So I and my children had better stay where we are."

Um Ali, a widowed mother of three children, who has been living in Aljufeina, the largest IDP camp in Yemen, says she is "no longer afraid of running short of food" for her kids. "There is enough humanitarian aid here and refugees sympathize with refugees." 

Her fears now stem from the "increasing rocket attacks" by the Shiit theocratic extremists, mosquito-borne "diseases like dengue fever and the likely emergence of coronavirus in our city."

"Our sense of fear from corona has just vanished. A Houthi missile has scared me off monents ago as I was kneading dough for the kids. I thought it hit around our (IDP) camp," she said at 6:20 pm on Thursday. "It rocked the whole town. Did you hear it?"

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