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Socotra residents resort to logging amid gas shortages

Dragon Blood trees tower above each other in the Yemeni Island of Socotra, 27 March 2013 [KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images]
Dragon Blood trees tower above each other in the Yemeni Island of Socotra, 27 March 2013 [KHALED FAZAA/AFP/Getty Images]

Residents on the Yemeni island of Socotra have reportedly resorted to logging due to a shortage of domestic gas, heightening fears of its impact on the island’s unique biodiversity.

Al-Mahriya quoted Muhammad Salem, Director General of the Environment Office in Socotra as saying, “The risk of logging is increasing day after day due to the lack of domestic gas in the governorate and its high prices on the black market.”

“Many local residents have resorted to logging, which is a dangerous phenomenon that has many and great damages,” he added.

Salem mentioned the threat of desertification, soil erosion and the destruction of biodiversity in the Socotra Archipelago. He urged exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the governor of Socotra to ensure the provision of household gas in order to preserve the island’s rich biodiversity, which is considered a World Natural Heritage Site.

The archipelago is also witnessing a severe crisis in oil derivatives, in addition to the lack of domestic gas. Earlier this year it was reported that the fuel shortage on Socotra was man-made and caused by UAE-backed militia operating there. Allegations included disrupting the arrival of oil shipments from Yemeni ports, thus forcing the local authorities to use oil suppliers from Abu Dhabi.

The UAE which is seen as an occupying force on the island has also previously been accused of stealing endangered indigenous Dragon’s Blood trees, which are unique to the island.

READ: Socotra could become one of Yemen’s environmental and cultural tragedies 

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Middle EastNewsUAEYemen
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