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UNESCO says 10,000 buildings were damaged in historic Sana’a

Saudi Arabia, UK, US & UAE issue joint statement on Yemen

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced on Saturday that it will launch a new phase of its joint project with the EU, to rehabilitate some historic buildings in Old Sana’a that were recently damaged by the increasing challenges of climate change.

The organization said in a press statement that the comprehensive assessment of the damage to the old buildings of Sana’a, which was conducted in 2021, showed that about 10,000 buildings were damaged.

Accordingly, it will launch a “new phase of the project to continue the rehabilitation of historical buildings in the city, and create job opportunities for thousands of young people through cash-for-work schemes.

In its statement, UNESCO stated that, during the past four years, the project managed to rehabilitate 213 historical buildings in the old city of Sana’a.

The statement added that community-led restoration work using traditional building techniques and materials has allowed it to withstand the constant torrential rains and floods.

It stressed that the continued preservation of fragile buildings in recent years was greatly affected by the social and economic effects of the ongoing conflict in Yemen, which prevented their owners from performing the necessary periodic maintenance to ensure their structural integrity.

It announced its continued commitment to support the Yemeni people by mobilizing resources and expertise, creating viable job opportunities for youth in the country, and making efforts to ensure the protection of Yemen’s cultural heritage, disaster risk reduction, climate adaptation, and mitigation in Yemen.

An official in the Houthi-controlled Historic Cities Preservation Authority in Sanaa revealed that five thousand houses are at risk of collapsing in the old city, in light of the periodic restoration and maintenance work of these archaeological areas that has stopped since the coup of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia.

Old Sana’a is one of the oldest Arab cities, as it is over thousands of years old, according to historians, and its religious and political heritage is reflected in the architecture of 103 mosques, 14 bathrooms, and more than six thousand houses, all built before the eleventh century.

It was included in 1986 on the World Heritage List, before UNESCO.

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