Arguments over electricity poles threaten lives
The pole, which is in a street behind the Saudi-German Hospital, teeters on the edge of complete collapse. The residents of the area have used a thick cable from an adjacent pole to support it in a bid to avert disaster.
“Even though the truck driver paid YR 80,000 to the Electricity Corporation (EC) on the same day, the person responsible for fixing it took the money and the pole has been like this for six months,” said Abdulghani Al-Ghobaisi, the social leader in the Al-Khair neighborhood where the accident happened.
Al-Ghobaisi said that thankfully the accident, on a lively street, happened while the electricity was off or the live power cable could have injured or killed someone.
Residents claimed that the EC has been neglecting its duty by failing to fix the pole but the company argued that a homeowner in front of that pole threatened them so they could not remove it, which would apparently result in a lower street value.
According to Mahmoud Al-Wade’e from the Technical Control Department at the Ministry of Electricity, the pole has not been working for a long time.
“We want to remove that pole as it might fall at any time, but a homeowner threatened us with a machine gun saying that the pole should be fixed not taken off,” said Al-Wade’e.
Al-Wade’e told the Yemen Times that they tried to take the pole down again on Tuesday, but staff were again prevented from doing so.
He said that the EC fined the truck driver the YR 80,000 (USD 350) and that they would use the money for maintenance works.
Al-Ghobaisi, Al-Khair’s social leader, confirmed that the owner of the house in front of the pole was the main barrier to the repairs, adding that the residents will continue to feel threatened until “something is done to fix the pole”.
“The threat becomes bigger day by day as the wind and the rain make the pole weaker and it might fall on us at any time,” said Saleh Al-Mar’abi, a resident of the area.
“If it fell down on someone, it would kill him. We do not know if it will happen for a woman, a child playing, or a passing car.”
However, according to the head of Bani Al-Hareth District Najeeb Al-Othari, where the pole is located, other people in the area do not want it to be removed either.
If the pole is removed, he said, the owner of the land where it is situated might build there – something some of the residents do not want.
“Some of the residents want to use the space and they do not want someone to build on it. If the pole is removed, they will lose the space,” he said.
Until the problem is solved between the homeowner and the Electricity Corporation, the pole will remain a danger.