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Saudi raids destroy Yemen World Heritage sites

May 6, 2020 at 9:45 am

A picture shows a general view of the historical quarter of the Yemeni capital Sanaa, which is currently listed as one of the world heritage sites by the UNESCO on 21 April 2020 [MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images]

Three ancient buildings collapsed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa after their foundations were weakened by the Saudi coalition air strikes on the city, officials said.

The structures, which had been inscribed on the World Heritage List by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) have repeatedly come under threat as a result of the five-year war between the Saudi-led Arab coalition and the Houthi group.

Heavy rains which caused flooding further eroded the buildings’ foundations causing them to collapse, officials explained, adding that the owners were killed as a result.

“First, the rockets shook the Old City’s homes, and then the rain did, too,” said Abdullah Al-Hadrami, a resident of the Old City of Sanaa.

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The historical Old City of Sanaa is well-known for its numerous mosques and “hammams”, in addition to 6,000 mud-brick houses dating back to before the eleventh century.

It is believed that Sanaa was founded 2,500 years ago.

UNESCO has pledged nearly $70,000 to restore buildings damaged during the rainy season in Yemen, said Amat Al-Razzaq, director of the General Organisation for the Preservation of Ancient Cities. She added that this amount will be sufficient only for the restoration of 40 homes.