Yemenis react to ban on qat in country’s south

A Yemeni chewing qat in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2011. (File photo: AP)

Yemenis on Tuesday took to social media in response to authorities in southern Yemeni banning qat, a mild chewing narcotic, on working days.

Qat, a mild narcotic that is commonly chewed by Yemenis, is regarded to have had a negative impact on public health – and the country’s water-starved farmland.

A local resident in Aden told Al Arabiya News that the ban was a move in the right direction. “I think it works, but needs a long time for people to adapt,” he said.

Another commented on twitter saying “I fully support the historic decision taken by the Aden local government to prevent selling qat in Aden.”

However others responded with humor, posting videos for the reasons behind the ban.

Many others have also posted images of qat markets in the southern port city of Aden completely deserted. Checkpoints have reportedly been set up around Aden to stop qat shipments from entering the port city – with patrols roaming the markets to enforce the ban on sales.

Security forces said in a statement that they had decided to “ban the sale of qat in Aden and its suburbs during the week.”

The statement said the ban was prompted by complaints from citizens and due to “security, social and health” concerns, adding that qat markets caused traffic jams.

Chewing wads of the herb has a stimulating effect similar to drinking numerous cups of strong coffee, and it is part Yemen’s social fabric.

This restriction on qat consumption was applied in the formerly independent South Yemen, before it united with the north in the 1990s.

(With AP)

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:47 - GMT 06:47