At least 10 buildings in the Old City of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, have collapsed in recent days due to heavy rainfall lashing the ancient city.
The Houthi rebels, who have been in control of Sanaa since almost the start of Yemen’s war in 2014, said on Wednesday some 80 other buildings had been heavily damaged and were in need of urgent repairs.
The Old City of Sanaa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the area is believed to have been inhabited for more than two millennia. Its architecture is unique, with foundations and first stories built of stone, and subsequent stories out of brick – deemed to be some of the world’s first high-rises.
The buildings have red-brick facades adorned with white gypsum moulding in ornate patterns, drawings comparisons to gingerbread houses – a style that has come to symbolise Sanaa. Many of the houses are still private homes and some are more than 500 years old.
In a statement, Abdullah al-Kabsi, the culture minister in the Houthi administration, said the rebels are working with international organisations and seeking help in dealing with the destruction. There were no immediate reports of dead or injured from the collapses.