ADEN // An Emirati dam project inaugurated this weekwill benefit thousands of families in one of the most arid areas of Yemen’s Abyan province and encourage the return of many who left because of the lack of water.
The 50 small dams were built over the past month under the directives of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the president emeritus of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), to assist people affected by the war in Yemen.
“This is the first step of the work in the water and environment field,” said Ghaida Al Rashidi, who oversees the implementation of Sheikha Fatima projects in Yemen.
She said the dams had all been built in Abyan’s Rasd district after surveys of residents’s water needs showed the area to be in dire need of additional water supplies. Other surveys are now being conducted to find out which other parts of Abyan would benefit most from dams.
The dams will help collect and store rainwater that can then be used for drinking and cooking, as well as in agriculture. Most of Abyan’s residents make their living from farming.
“The residents of the district built the dams themselves and in this way the residents got the chance to work. The work last a month,” said Ms Al Rashidi, adding that the residents were paid by the ERC for building the dams.
The dams, each 10 metres long and between three and five metres high, are built from stone and cement and were designed by Abyan architect Mohamed Al Khayali, who also supervised their construction.
“I designed the small dams in an oval shape so they can bear the pressure of the water that will gather inside. If the dams are square or rectangular, they will not bear the pressure and cracks will soon appear,” he told The National.
Rasd is one of the districts in Abyan province suffering most from a lack of water, said Sadeq Al Faqeeh, a journalist based in Zinjibar, Abyan’s provincial capital. Most of its residents are poor and were unable to solve the water problem on their own.
“Some residents left Rasd because of the lack of water,” he said, though the exact number who left is not known.
Rasd only receives in the summer months – the rest of the year is dry.
“The residents of Rasd have been asking the government to build dams for several years,” Mr Al Faqeeh said, adding that Abyan residents are very grateful to the ERC for its work in the province, which has also included the distribution of food baskets after the province was liberated from the Houthis in August.
Mr Al Faqeeh said not only would the new dams provide enough water for the thousands of families currently living in Rasd, but that they might persuade those who had left the province to come back to their villages.
Until now, the residents of Rasd have relied on wells – which dry up in the winter – or rainwater stored in open containers. The latter provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes, which spread malaria during the summer.
Source: uae news