People buy firewood at a market place in Sanaa February 8, 2015. According to local media, people are using firewood for cooking amid a shortage in cooking gas supplies. REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi
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As Houthi rebels cemented their hold on parts of Yemen this month, architect Sami Yahia skipped work and made three runs to the bank. Yahia was worried his country's economy would deteriorate to the point where the financial system doesn't have enough hard currency, so he withdrew the maximum amount of dollars each time at his local branch in Yemen's capital, Sanaa Oil prices have fallen more than 40 percent over the past six months.The Saudis support Yemen's President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi, who's been sidelined by the Houthis, and say the Shiite rebels are tools of Iran.The rebels took over Sanaa in September, and then in January overran the presidential palace.Alduais said Yemen needs 84 billion rials ($390 million) a month for salaries for the country's 1.2 million civil servants and military personnel. He said the ministry would be able to pay February salaries and is operating "normally". Yahia, the architect in Sanaa, said the latest developments, including the embassy closures, are worse than he has ever experienced. In 2011, when protests against former President Saleh erupted, Yahia withdrew some extra cash from the bank, but not all his savings.
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