Heavy rains hitting the Yemeni capital of Sana’a have caused the collapse of 10 historic buildings in the Old City in recent daysreported the country’s Houthi rebels on Wednesday.
At least 80 more buildings have been heavily damaged by the rains and need urgent repairssaid the rebels, who have controlled Sana’a since Yemen’s civil war broke out more than eight years ago.
The Old City of Sana’a has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and it is believed that the area has been inhabited for more than two millennia. Its architecture is unique, with foundations and first floors built with stone, and the following with brick. They are considered to be some of the world’s first skyscrapers.
The buildings have brick facades adorned with white plaster moldings in intricate patterns, earning them comparisons to gingerbread houses, and their style has become a symbol of the Yemeni capital. Many of the houses are still private homes and some are over 500 years old.
In a statement, Abdullah al-Kabsi, the Houthi government’s culture minister, said the rebels are working with international organizations and seeking help to deal with the destruction. So far there were no reports of deaths or injuries from the landslides.
The houses they had stood for centuries, but this season’s heavy rains have been too much for the iconic structures. Now the bricks and wooden beams form huge piles of rubble between the structures that are still standing.
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