Ouster of Yemeni President Should End the Propane Shortage

Tanks everywhere, but not a drop of gas: Yemenis wait in lines for propane cooking gas. (image: Yemen Observer)

The news that the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is on the verge of relinquishing control of the Mideast country should solve one of the pressing problems facing the population: A mass shortage of propane for cooking their meals.

Propane has virtually disappeared from the marketplace in the recent unrest, due to shipping snags and security issues. Prices have multiplied. The regime, the opposition forces, rural tribesman, and vendors have all been blamed for the shortage. But new leadership will likely mean an end to the scant supplies, reports the newspaper, The Egyptian Today.

The cooking gas shortage has been a rallying point for demonstrators, particularly in the capital of Sanaa. Some Yemenis took to the streets in protest, blocking roads with empty gas cylinders on occasion. “I never thought that one day I will use this method to demand anything but life is hard, and I have to feed my family,” one protestor told the paper, adding that prices had more than tripled.

The dearth of gas rippled across the economy. One restaurant owner said that without propane to fuel his kitchens, he had to close up shop and let go of his 160 employees.

Adding to frustrations, the newspaper says that Yemen produces enough gas to supply the country’s cooks but sends almost half of its production overseas.

Previous stories on the shortage are here and here.

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