Satellite images show scale of destruction in Yemen

Sep 2, 2015

Satellite image of destruction in Aden, Yemen. Photo: UNDP/UNITAR/UNOSAT/US Department of State

Sana’a – Satellite images released by UNDP show the recent destruction of markets, buildings, roads and bridges, as well as private homes and businesses, as a result of the ongoing fighting in Yemen.

The images were taken by the Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT) of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and show the scale of devastation the conflict has wrecked on the cities of Sana’a, Aden and Sa’ada.  

A total of 839 buildings were either destroyed or damaged in Aden alone, marking a 30 percent increase since May 2015, with many impact craters located around the airport as well as near health facilities and markets.

“The massive destruction of infrastructure in Yemen and the impact of the conflict on livelihoods and essential services is already causing grave consequences for short and long-term development,” said Sylvain Merlen, head of UNDP’s sub-office in Aden.

“Rehabilitating family and community assets and services is a priority for our early recovery work,” he added.

The airports in Sana’a, Aden and Sa’ada as well as Aden’s main port have been badly damaged. In addition, a total of 33 medical facilities in Sana’a, Aden, Taiz and Sa’ada were within a 100 meter radius of damaged or destroyed buildings, with increasing likelihood of damage as the fighting continues.

Other cities in Yemen have not yet been assessed and may have also suffered crippling damage from the fighting.
 
“The emergency clearing of unexploded ordnances and mines, restoration and stabilization of livelihoods and services is urgently needed to allow local communities to recover and make them resilient to current and future shocks,” said Mr. Merlen.
 
The images not only illustrate the extent of damage in Sana’a, Aden and Sa’ada but also the urgent need to scale up reconstruction efforts in the country. As one part of its Yemen Resilience and Recovery Programme, UNDP is rebuilding livelihoods and aiming at supporting the clearing of mines and explosives, and at restoring essential services for communities such as waste management.

UNDP is also promoting social cohesion through community consultations on recovery issues as a way of enhancing community security.

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