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Price hikes dampen Eid joy in war-torn Yemen

Yemenis buy sweets and nuts at a supermarket in the capital Sanaa on July 18, 2021, as Muslims prepare to celebrate the annual holiday of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice). (Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS / AFP) (Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Yemenis buy sweets and nuts at a supermarket in the capital Sanaa on July 18, 2021 [MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images]

The Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) is no longer a source of joy in war-torn Yemen. Rather, it has become a reminder of the deteriorating economic conditions in the Arab country, Anadolu Agency reported.

Since 2014, Yemen has been beset by civil war, in which more than 233,000 people were killed and 80 percent of the country's 30 million population became dependent on aid to survive, in the world's worst humanitarian crisis, according to the UN.

The festival comes this year amid price hikes, interruption of salaries, and devaluation of the local currency, causing the absence of Eid manifestations of slaughtering sacrificial animals and buying new clothes.

Meat, sweets, cakes and nuts are absent from the tables of most Yemenis on Eid al-Adha, while livestock markets witnessed an unprecedented stagnation due to the price hikes, according to traders and consumers.

"The bull costs around 850,000 Yemeni riyals ($1,500) this year, up from only 420,000 riyals ($700) last year," Omar Attia, a livestock dealer in Sunday Market in the southwestern Taiz province, told Anadolu Agency.

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The price of a local sheep or goat ranges between 120,000 and 200,000 riyals ($150-200).

Attia attributed the high prices of sacrificial animals to importing most of them from outside the country.

"The prices of local livestock brought from coastal cities have also increased, because of the high costs of transportation to Taiz via pumpy mountain roads, the high prices of oil derivatives, and the blockade imposed on the city since 2015."

Ali al-Watiri, an employee from Taiz, went to the livestock market to buy an animal for Eid, but returned home empty-handed due to the high prices.

"Like thousands of Yemenis now, I will have to buy a fresh chicken on the first day of Eid and consider it as a sacrifice," al-Wateri said.

Eid al-Adha marks a sacred occasion when the Prophet Ibrahim was willing to sacrifice his son, Ismail in the sake of Allah.

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