Yemen’s UNESCO-listed Old Sanaa houses collapse in heavy rains

The houses in Yemen’s UNESCO-listed Old City of Sanaa are collapsing due to heavy rains, as months of floods and storms assail a country already reeling from war, food shortages, and disease.

The distinctive brown and white mud-brick houses of Sanaa’s historic neighbourhoods, which date from before the 11th century, have long been under threat from conflict and neglect.

Muhammad Ali al-Talhi’s house partially collapsed on Friday as heavy rain battered Sanaa, leaving the family, including six women and six children, homeless.

“Everything we had is buried,” he said surrounded by ancient debris and mud, appealing for help to find shelter.

Aqeel Saleh Nassar, deputy head of the Historic Cities Preservation Authority, said people were not maintaining these old buildings as they had done in the past, leading to cracks and structural weakening.

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