Houses in Yemen's UNESCO-listed Old City of Sanaa collapse under heavy rains

WION Web Team Sanaa, Yemen Aug 10, 2020, 01.47 PM(IST)

Ruins in Sanaa Photograph:( Reuters )

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This year's exceptionally heavy rains, which began mid-April and last into early September, have added to what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Houses in Yemen's UNESCO-listed Old City of Sanaa are collapsing under heavy rains, as months of floods and storms assail a country already reeling from war, food shortages and disease.

This year's exceptionally heavy rains, which began mid-April and last into early September, have added to what the United Nations describes as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

The distinctive brown and white mud brick houses of Sanaa's historic neighbourhoods, which date from before the 11th century, have long been under threat from conflict and neglect. A house partially collapsed on Friday as heavy rain battered Sanaa, leaving the six women and six children of his family homeless.

Around 5,000 of the towering buildings in the old city have leaky roofs and 107 have partially collapsed roofs. The Historic Cities Preservation Authority has been working with UNESCO and other funds to preserve some.

Five years of war have killed more than 100,000 people, and left 80% of the population reliant on aid and millions on the brink of famine. On top of the new coronavirus, which is believed to be spreading largely undetected, heavy rains spread diseases like cholera, dengue fever and malaria.

To this end, the Iran-aligned Houthi authorities who have controlled Sanaa since ousting the internationally recognised Saudi-backed Yemeni government in late 2014, appealed this week to UNESCO to save the city's heritage. They said around 111 houses had partly or completely collapsed in recent weeks.