Heavy rains hit Sana’a, and flooding results
Hundreds of Yemenis have previously died in flash floods throughout the country and many houses have been washed away.
Mohammed Al-Kibsi, 22, a resident of Sana’a, recalls with sadness his father who passed away during last year’s floods on Kholan St. in Sana’a.
“My father was working in a workshop that specialized in converting vehicles from running on petrol to gas. It was raining heavily that day and water was streaming into the workshop. My father went out to try diverting the water with a spade in his hands. While doing that, a fence collapsed on him and killed him,” Al-Kibsi said.
“During his dying breath, I was looking at him, screaming and trying to rescue him. But death was much faster than me, and everyone else for that matter,” added a heartbroken Al-Kibsi.
Torrential rains began early this week in Sana’a as well as in many other governorates across the country. With them came floods along main streets and through neighborhoods.
Many major cities in Yemen, including the capital Sana’a, lack effective systems of drainage to discharge the rain water. Each rainy season this stokes fear and panic among residents who fear that their homes may be destroyed, and that they may be drowned in the floods.
Dr. Saif Al-Hakimi, a professor in environment and earth sciences at Sana’a University, attributes the strong floods in Sana’a to the streets being asphalted or paved with stones. He argues that the water can not sink into the soil, and therefore it accumulates and is channeled with disastrous results.
There are further concerns of a potential environment disaster due to the accumulated piles of garbage in Yemeni governorates. Cleaners and garbage collectors have been on strike since last week, and rubbish has piled up across many cities.
Floods have swept trash along streets and through neighborhoods, polluting the surface of the earth and water in wells, said Al-Hakimi. He added that contamination of the soil could increase the chances of contracting disease, especially in children.
The National Center for Meteorology (NCM) on Tuesday warned people to take precautions against thunderstorms, flash flooding, and landslides.
The director of the predictions department at the NCM, Rashid Al-Ariqi, predicted that heavy rains will continue from Sa’ada in the far north to Taiz in the south.
He said there was a possibility that the rains may extend east in the coming days towards Shabwa, Marib, and Al-Jawf governorates, and west towards the Hodeida and Taiz coasts. He urged people to take precautions.