RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has allocated 6 billion riyals ($1.6 billion) to build 6,000 houses for citizens who were displaced from areas bordering Yemen after a two-month conflict with Yemeni Shi’ite rebels.
The official SPA news agency said the money would also fund the construction of basic educational and health infrastructure at five sites in the southern Jazan province.
Citizens who have been living in areas bordering Yemen would be housed in these new developments, SPA added.
The Saudi army started in November a campaign against what it said were intrusions into its territory by Yemeni Shi’ite rebels who were accusing Riyadh of letting Yemeni troops use its territory to attack them.
At least 113 Saudi soldiers were killed in the fighting which ended with a truce in January.
Western diplomats have been expecting Riyadh to provide adequate housing for thousands of citizens who live in the relatively poor southern region along the porous border with Yemen, some of whom rely on smuggling for their subsistence.
Before the conflict with the Yemeni rebels, Saudi Arabia started laying out basic infrastructure for the so-called Jazan Economic City in the hope of attracting $30 billion in investments to create an industrial hub that would create much-needed jobs for the population there.