Yemen calls on UNESCO to assess natural and man-made threats to Socotra
Yemen’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hadhrami has called on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to examine man-made and natural causes of damage to the archipelago of Socotra in recent years.
Located in the northwest Indian Ocean near the Gulf of Aden, Socotra was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008 to protect its unique biodiversity.
In a letter to the assistant director-general of UNESCO on the recent clashes between the internationally recognized government and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Socotra’s main island, Al-Hadhrami called for the speedy dispatch of a committee of experts that had previously been formed to examine the island and the natural and human threats to it.
While Socotra has been spared the destruction of open warfare seen on Yemen’s mainland, islanders have felt indirect effects of the conflict through fuel shortages, trade disruptions and the rising cost of staple foods. At the same time, cyclones have wreaked havoc on the island’s infrastructure and hurt the local economy, particularly the fishing industry.
On May 1, STC loyalists attacked government forces with heavy and medium weapons captured from the army’s 1st Marine Infantry Brigade in the capital of Hadibu. It was the first military battle in Socotra’s history.
Edited by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs