Greetings in Jesus’ name!
I am very sad to inform you that the situation in Yemen has been deteriorating very seriously. The Houthi rebels have been in control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa since September 2014. Among twenty one provinces, nine provinces were captured by Houthis. In this situation Yemen’s President Hadi asked for support from regional powers. Saudi Arabia and the coalition of ten other Arab countries have begun air raids and shelling on Houthi positions of control. 1,50,000 troops are ready to launch operations and hundreds of Saudi’s war planes launched air strikes against Houthis in Yemen. Today all airports and sea ports are closed in Yemen.
Today Mansour shared that during this time of war robbery, looting and plundering have been increasing in public and private properties in all parts of Aden. The Presidential palace in Aden was plundered yesterday and all the materials were looted away. In this situation to safeguard our Church, Clinic and our property, we have deployed more security personnel in the campus. On Wednesday morning from 10.00 am local time the Eye Clinic remains closed indefinitely. Moreover, all Education Institutions and Government offices also remain closed now. Fierce fights are going on, not only in the neighboring cities but also in Aden, nearly 2 km away from our Church.
The situation in Yemen forced us to leave Aden and now Vijaya and I are in India. On the last Friday, the worship service could not be conducted in Christ Church. However, so far the Christ Church and the Ras Morbat Eye Clinic are not affected with any serious problems.
The people of Aden are in a state of insecurity and there is no peace due to unjust social order followed by war. Today I contacted the staff in the clinic, maintenance staff and all the members of the Christ Church over phone and encouraged them to face the difficult situation in God’s name.
Kindly pray for peace and security for all in Yemen and its people particularly the ministry of the Christ Church and the Ras Morbat Clinic and members of the congregation.
I would be very grateful to you, if you could remember us and the Christ Church in your family prayers and as a congregation in tomorrow’s worship service.
Fr. Velvet and Vijaya.
The political problems in Yemen are only now featuring in the international news headlines. It has taken some real effort to track the developments in Yemen over the past three months in English language media, but the increasing unrest has now progressed toward outright civil war. Houthi troups loyal to former President Saleh have swept down from Sanaa and are in the process of taking over Aden. President Hadi’s exact whereabouts are unknown – he is purported to have fled the country but his supporters maintain his is still in control of Aden. As Saudi-led coalition air strike bombards Sanaa the crisis deepens into a proxy war between other Middle East countries who fear each others’ influence. Coupled with strong sentiment among many in the south that a return to divided Yemen is the solution of their local problems, the present conflict has many layers and complexities.
Until the last couple of days when shooting and looting have become more widespread, the clinic in Aden has continued to operate as normal, seeing 40-50 patients each day. The staff show courage and tenacity enabling the clinic to continue to serve the Yemeni people. There has been no fighting in the area immediately around the clinic. Fr Velvet and Vijaya returned to India for the time being because everyone involved felt that the presence of foreigners on the property increased the risk for everyone. The church community however continue to meet on Fridays when they can travel freely in the city.
There are strikes and demonstrations in Aden. There has been an arial bombardment of the residence where President Hadi was staying but we are told nobody was hurt. There has been armed conflict between government fighters and supporters of the Houthi movement. It is clear that a civil war will be inconclusive and only deepen the confusion, poverty and basic survival factors for the Yemeni people throughout the country. What’s more, it will also give more scope for IS and AQAP to extend their influence among the tribes.
As always, we covet the prayers of our friends and supporters. Please pray for the eventuality of reconciliation and lasting peace. Please remember that there are many Christians in the country from African and subcontinent nationalities who are also caught up in the unrest and insecurity. Pray too for the safety of the staff as they travel to and from work, and for the church community as they have some distance to travel to meet with other believers. We think of them especially as they celebrate Easter.
May God continue to work in and through his people to reflect his righteousness and peace.