October 19, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015 - ,,, No comments

UNITAR - UNOSAT and UNDP Reports on Destruction in the City of Sana'a, Sana'a Governorate, Yemen and Its Effects on Civilians

On August 28, 2015 UNITAR’s Operational Satellite Applications Programme - UNOSAT, a technology-intensive programme delivering imagery analysis and satellite solutions to relief and development organisations within and outside the UN system illustrated satellite-detected damage and analysis of the destruction in the city of Aden, Aden Governorate, Yemen. 

Using satellite imagery acquired 10 and 23 September 2015, as well as 15 May 2015, UNITAR-UNOSAT they have now done the same thing for the city of Sana'a, Sana'a Governorate, Yemen. 

As noted in an earlier ARCA blog post Sana'a is the largest city in Yemen and the centre of Sana'a Governorate. Inhabited for more than 2,500 years, Sana'a old city is an UNESCO World Heritage Site (Date of Inscription: 1986) noted for its many-storeyed tower-houses built using pisé de terre, an ancient rammed earth method of construction that dates back to at least 7000 BCE in Pakistan.   Prior to becoming the latest victim of unrest the city of Sana'a hosted 103 mosques, 14 hammams and over 6,000 houses, all built before the 11th century.

The UNITAR-UNOSAT report, published October 15, 2015 identified a total of 652 affected structures within a city.  Detailing their findings the report noted
Approximately 283 of these were impacted as of 10 and 23 September 2015, with 54 destroyed, 94 severely damaged, and 135 moderately damaged. Previously, using the 15 May 2015 satellite image, UNITAR-UNOSAT had located 369 affected structures, of which 60 were destroyed, 72 severely damaged, and 237 moderately damaged. Additionally, 8 impact craters and 16 areas with significant amounts of debris were observed in September 2015. A total of 7 medical facilities were identified within 100 meters of damaged and destroyed buildings, and it is possible that these facilities also sustained some damage. Notably, as of 10 and 23 September 2015, significant reconstruction of structures damaged as of 15 May 2015 was visible across the examined area. This is a preliminary analysis and has not yet been validated in the field.  

A copy of the report in its entirety can be found here.  Along with a full-sized PDF version of the site damage map here

Image Credit World Food Program (WFP), Rome
Another UN group, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been working in Yemen to document how the conflict has changed the daily lives of a normal citizen. Over a six month period they have been collecting interviews from within six different governorates in Yemen -Sana’a, Taiz, Hadhramout, Hajjah, Sa’adah, and Ibb asking the Yemeni’s they spoke with to speak of their main daily challenges, their future concerns and what ongoing risks they face on a daily basis. 

For a stark look at life for the Yemeni people under such conditions their eye-opening report can be read here. Yemen needs courageous and compassionate people if it is to turn around from these catastrophic realities.

By Lynda Albertson