Corona in Jordan and Yemen: “The right moment to fight together”

Ahmed Al-Kebsi is from Yemen and is currently studying Water Resources and Environmental Engineering in Irbid, Jordan. In September 2019, he attended a summer school at the Goethe University in Frankfurt on the Main in Environmental and Remote Sensing Data Analysis as part of his DAAD master’s degree programme scholarship in Jordan.

Mr Al-Kebsi, how do you live during the coronavirus pandemic?

I am originally from Yemen, but I currently live in a city called Irbid in Jordan. The city has been on lockdown for more than two weeks now because it has recorded the most coronavirus cases in Jordan. For the most part, we stay at home 24 hours a day as per the instructions of the Ministry of Health. Things are getting better, and registered cases are decreasing. I am working on a research project from home, and I keep in touch with my supervisor via email and Zoom Meetings.

Do you have any news from your home country Yemen?

I am in contact with my family and friends there. For a long time, Yemen had not recorded any cases of COVID-19. Perhaps the main reason for that is the closure of most of the airports and ports in the last five years due to the war. The economy, infrastructure and health care system are fragile and cannot fight this epidemic. Imagine that there are only 400 ventilators for more than 30 million people. Yemen is doing everything it can: hundreds of public places were sterilised, and many awareness campaigns are being conducted all over the country. Unfortunately, Yemen recorded its first case of COVID-19 in mid-April.

What are your thoughts about the future?

Looking at the full half of the glass, I think that the quarantine strengthens our friendships and relationships. For example, I am in contact with many friends and DAAD alumni in many countries via WhatsApp groups. I believe that big changes start small. People from all over the world should share their experiences, volunteer if they can and offer help to those who have no income. I hope that the world will soon overcome this crisis and that no more people lose their loved ones. Eventually, I hope that the war in Yemen will come to an end and that all conflicting parties realise that this is the right moment to fight together instead of fighting each other.

Interview: Marlene Thiele

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May 2020

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