The governorate of Lahj is located on the southwestern coast of the Republic of Yemen, north and west of Aden. It is 337 kilometers from the capital city of Sana’a. The governorate is divided into 15 administrative districts with the city of Al-Hawtah as its capital.

Lahj governorate information

Districts of Lahj: Al Had, Yafa'a, Al Maflahy, Yahar, Habil Jabr, Halimayn, Radfan, Al Milah, Al Musaymir, Al Qabbaytah, Tur Al Bahah, Al Maqatirah, Al Madaribah Wa Al Arah, Al Hawtah, Tuban.

Map of Lahj


Economy

Lahj is an agricultural governorate and produces about 4% of the total agricultural production of the Republic of Yemen. The most important crops are vegetables and feed crops. Lahj produces construction materials for neighboring Aden and other parts of Yemen. Quarrying and clay mining are important economic activities1https://www.yemenna.com/index.php?go=guide&op=show&link=lahej.

According to the 2014 local authority budget for Lahj, grants and central subsidies constituted 98% of the total revenue for the governorate, while local revenues accounted for only 2%. The most significant sources of local revenue were local shared revenues, income from the sale of goods and services, fines and penalties, leasing land, and selling quarries.2Republic of Yemen, Ministry of Finance, Budget Sector: estimated local authority budget for the 2014 fiscal year. These local revenues were negatively affected by the war, and the governorate faced major economic disruption as the site of an active front in the conflict, especially in 2015. Most of the governorate is under control of the Hadi government, except for Maqatarah, which remains an active military front.

The poverty rate in Lahj was 69% in 2014. With the economic disruptions brought on by the war, this rate has likely increased over the past years.3Republic of Yemen, Household Budget Survey of 2014.


Local governance

The local council of Lahj is comprised of 15 councilors and the governor. The council held its last meeting in late 2016 to elect a new secretary general, as the previous secretary general was abroad. Since then, the council has not met. The administrative board of the local council continues to meet and operate regularly. The executive offices are present and functioning, but at a minimum level due to the weakness of local revenues and the absence of central subsidies.4Interview with one of the deputies of the Governorate of Lahj. March 2019.

The governorate, including the capital Al-Houta, are subject to a tug of war between the government of President Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council. This situation has contributed to the continued disruption of the local council’s work.5Marie-Christine Heinze & Sophie Stevens, Women as Peacebuilders in Yemen, Yemen Polling Center & Social Development Direct, June 2018, p. 21.


Access to basic services

There are nearly 900,000 people (more than 90% of the population) in need of assistance in Lahj, 62% of whom are in dire need.6OCHA, Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen 2018.

Hospitals and health centers provide health services in the governorate, but the services are insufficient to meet the needs of the population. The health facilities are working on a very low budget provided by the local authority and with support from international donors.7Interview with Deputy Governor of Lahj.

Education has also been disrupted by the conflict, with 50 schools in Lahj damaged in the war.8OCHA, an Overview of the Humanitarian Needs in Yemen 2018. Teachers, however, were being paid regularly.9Economic and Social Development In Yemen Newsletter (Issue No. 30, December 2017) published by the Economic Studies and Forecast Sector in the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation. The local authority and international organizations are supporting education in Lahj, ensuring a measure of stability and continuity.

With regard to drinking water, 41% of households had access to potable water in 2016/2017.10OCHA: Overview of the Humanitarian Needs in Yemen 2018. In addition to support from the government and the local authority to the water sector, some international organizations are also funding this sector. In general, water supply services and sanitation are weak.11Interview with one of the deputies of the Governorate of Lahj. March 2019.


Demographics

District Size (km2) Population (Female) Population (Male) Population (Total)
 Al Had 263 34,910 36,708 71,6170
 Yafa’a 295 49,710 51,144 100,854
 Al Maflahy 150 26,682 25,568 52,250
 Yahar 244 24,792 25,953 50,745
 Habil Jabr 647 26,892 29,872 56,764
 Halimayn 279 18,413 19,644 38,057
 Radfan 615 28,078 30,768 58,845
 Al Milah 1,402 18,011 19,888 37,899
 Al Musaymir 533 17,214 19,178 36,392
 Al Qabbaytah 1,024 66,360 61,240 127,600
 Tur Al Bahah 1,883 31,458 33,382 64,840
 Al Maqatirah 476 40,701 31,764 72,465
 Al Madaribah Wa Alarah 1,849 30,181 31,776 61,957
 Al Hawtah 1,849 17,470 18,747 36,217
 Tuban 1,528 55,127 61,369 116,496
 TOTAL 13,036 485,999 497,001 982,998

Figures are 2017 Yemen Central Statistical Organization projections based on the 2004 census.


Resources relevant to Lahj

Final Evaluation: Cooperative Communities: Advancing Local Governance in Southern Yemen

Final Evaluation: Cooperative Communities: Advancing Local Governance in Southern Yemen

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“The situation needs us to be active”Youth contributions to peacebuilding in Yemen

“The situation needs us to be active”Youth contributions to peacebuilding in Yemen

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War and Pieces: Political Divides in Southern Yemen

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Analysis of situation in each of the governorates of the former PDRY with a special emphasis on local security actors This paper focuses on the origins, development, and prospects of political challenges in southern Yemen. It begins with an analysis of historical divisions in the south, outlining key issues within specific governorates – including the […]

Rapid local governance diagnostic in Yemen

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Rapid assessment of local governance situation in Yemen based on research in six governorates and 18 districts focused on current situation, including issues of financing UNDP Yemen conducted a Rapid Local Governance Diagnostic (RLGD) in April and May of 2019 in six governorates (Aden, Hadramout, Hajjah, Lahj, Marib and Taiz) and 18 districts to better […]

The Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) Joint Programme: Local Governance and social cohesion interventions impact assessment

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Assessment of the local governance and social cohesion interventions under the Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen Programme in Abyan, Hajja, Hodiedah and Lahj governorates in Yemen This report presents the results of an assessment of the local governance and social cohesion interventions under the Enhanced Rural Resilience in Yemen (ERRY) Programme in Abyan, Hajja, Hodiedah […]