Will Sea Water Swallow the Southern City of Aden?


Sun, 05-09-2021 02:26 PM, Aden

Bassam Al-Qadi | South24 

"The flood disaster that Aden witnessed on April 21st, 2020 left tremendous effects on me. I suffered and am still suffering,  i lost my most precious people, my 4 year old son Saqr, and my 18 month old baby, Taima” said Azal Saleh Akbour, mourning the loss of her loved ones while talking about her suffering with deep feelings of pain and sadness”.

“My feelings of longing and missing are enormous, it is difficult to forget my children, no matter how long it takes.” She added while crying in pain, and stopped talking for a while, before taking a breath, saying: “Time was too short to catch up some happiness with them, even while they were alive because of my living conditions.  I lost everything 
I am the mother who got hurt the most by the floods”

With a sigh, she concluded her speech: "Anything in the world would not make up for the loss of my children," and with her last letter, she burst into heartbreaking tears.

Local residents' fears

Every summer that passes over the southern city of Aden, and as the clouds begin to gather in the sky of the coastal town, year after year, panic and fear knock the hearts of local residents , and with every alarm warning sound by environmental meteorological centers, people hurry to build cementing barriers in front of their houses in the forgotten capital of the country , and to completely close their doors with blocks, especially houses that are in ground floors in the old town “Crater”, all that because of the fear of floods, and hurricanes that Aden experiences annually, due to climate changes, which made the city ranked sixth in the world among the list of the 10 cities who are the most subjected to the risk of drowning.

Additionally, lawyer Abdullah Muhammad, the financial official of “Al-Shuaib People campaign “, dedicated to the relief of the people of Aden, said that the floods that took place in Aden in April of last year, left a very big human tragedy and disaster, about 17 people died, dozens were injured, and 66 houses were completely damaged in Crater district only. 1,450 families were affected by the disaster in 25 locations in Aden Governorate, 500 families lost their homes, and the disaster caused significant physical damage to the infrastructure, roads, government facilities and electricity, noting that the campaign provided nearly 87 million Yemeni Riyals, as emergency humanitarian aid to relief the affected people at the time.

During the floods that swept through Aden, South Yemen, April 2020 (Ahmed Shehab)

Casualties and physical damages

There are no accurate official statistics about the damage caused by floods and rains in Aden on April 21, 2020, although the numbers by international and U.N organizations indicate that approximately 20 people were died, including children and women, and 85 were injured between moderate and minor conditions in addition to 371 affected areas in 14 Yemeni governorates.

According to the U.N. estimations, the number of people affected by the floods reached 150,000, including 22,000 in Aden, most of whom were internally displaced, in addition to 11 shelter camps for the homeless. More than 1,000 families were displaced from 7 sites for the displaced inside the city, while 638 families were affected in Abyan Governorate, adjacent to Aden, only in Khanfar and Zinjibar districts. Also 679 displaced families were affected in the neighboring Lahij governorate.

Last year's floods caused the collapse and destruction of dozens of homes and roads, causing widespread damage to infrastructure, homes and shelters in Aden and neighboring governorates, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Yemen.

Alarming studies

Recently, recent scientific studies revealed that Aden’s distinguished geographical location threatens it with major disasters in case of rising sea levels, and the areas that can be most affected are the areas near the beaches, flat areas with the lowest level of height, the current tidal areas, the marshes and salinas areas, and lowlands.

The author of the study, Professor Nada Al-Sayed Hassan, Professor of Environment and Environmental Pollution at the Faculty of science, University of Aden, confirmed that the rise in sea level will directly affect the infrastructure of cities, bridges, and road networks, and often have a significant impact on the population, especially the poor segments who live near coasts , such as fishermen, and remote villages in some of the low-lying islands, noting that the potential impact of climate change on the infrastructure of the coastal city of Aden and its associated services necessitates the concerned authorities to develop a national contingency plan to face potential such disasters.

Possible scenarios awaiting Aden

Through a study conducted on the city of Aden using the scientific methods used by the
Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), the scenarios showed the results shown in the table below.

In response to a question about whether the sea water would really swallow the southern city of Aden, Al-Sayed replied: “The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted that the rate of sea level rise will rise globally by 18-59 cm by the end of this century. At the regional level, researchers Unkrishnan and Shankar (2007), who monitor the increase through the northern Indian Ocean monitoring station, showed that the sea level in Aden is rising by about 2 mm / year, which is similar to the sea level in the world”.