It may be the Muslim holy month of fasting, but for many residents of Sanaa this Ramadan the political crisis that is fast driving the Arab world’s poorest country towards breakdown means there won’t be much food, if any, on the table come sun down.
“We are not fasting during the month of Ramadan in Yemen we are starving,” said Sultan al-Areeqi, a 34-year-old father of five who told GlobalPost he had worked as a laborer before the turmoil generated during the opposition attempt to unseat President Ali Abdullah Saleh forced his employer to lay off workers.
“Food prices are at least four times higher than they were in March. We have no money,” said Areeqi. “We can only eat one meal a day, and most of the time that is given to us by neighbors who are in a better financial situation."
Ramadan is a holy month in Islam during which observant Muslims fast during daylight hours, attend prayers at the mosque and give charity to the poor. But the cost of dates, the sweet fruit traditionally eaten first to break the fast, have shot up by 50 percent as has sugar to make traditional sweets.