“I got to the point of buying just about enough wheat flour for the day and night to feed my family and there were times when I couldn’t have the money to purchase just one kilo of wheat. I don’t have a fixed source of income and there are no jobs because of the ongoing crisis.”
This is not just the story of Badr Mahfouz, but the story of 6,650 people living at Al-Nusairiah area in Hajja city; 1,650 of them displaced persons from Haradh, Midi and Tahama running away from the war.
Al-Nusairiah is one of the neighborhoods in Hajja city whose residents rely on daily work for their income to support their families. As in many parts of Yemen, the current ongoing war has resulted in increasing the numbers of unemployed population, poverty went up above 60% of the population, and more than 80% of the population is in need of humanitarian support, as well an inability of State to pay salaries and full suspension of social welfare payments to the poor has further exacerbated the situation.
The neighbourhood is composed of 65 houses, 25 of them were in danger because they are located on the old torrent's canal. The canel is always buried with garbage and piles of sand, causing the torrents to flow into the homes of its residents during the rainy seasons. Every year they had to spend whatever savings they had to repair the damages caused by such an inevitable fate.
“I still remember the rains of last year pouring in torrents flooding our home causing panic and fear among my family. Only God saved us, otherwise, we’d have been without home today" Mabrook Al-Nasari said.
Through YECRP’s Cash-for-Work program, UNDP has partnered with the Public Works Project (PWP) to pave several parts of Al-Nusairiah, especially the streams of torrents, to not only comfort the fear of the residents for their homes from being flooded or washed away, but to also provide some of the residents, particularly the IDPs, with daily wages in return for their labor work in helping pave their neighborhood.
“Whatever money we had gained from our work of carrying stones and cement used in paving the streams of torrents in Al-Nusairiah provided us with the ability to purchase a sack of wheat after we failed in the past months,” Badr Mahfouz, one of the IDPs from Haradh, said.
The Al-Jahda’ road connecting with Al-Nusairiah was another anguish for the residents because all means of transportation of all sizes, including motorcycles, were unable to use the road due to its steep decline.
“After Al-Jahda’ street was paved, cars are easily able to transport women, patients, students, at a lower cost of 50% compared to the cost before as we had to turn around Al-Nusairiah especially during raining. We didn’t have a choice but to drop the residents at the start of the road to walk the remaining distance on foot in order to get to their homes because driving on the road is very difficult due to slips causing damages to our cars,” Ibrahim Al-Qashwa, a mini bus driver, was speaking with joy.
Ibrahim went on to say, “The 1000 Yemeni riyals trip has become now a 500 riyals only after Al-Jahda’s road was paved.”
Al-Nusairiah’s residents no longer have to suffer having to carry their patients on their backs or on carriers lifted by several people to the start of Al-Jahd’s asphalted street.
Raining seasons are no longer a worry for the Al-Jahda’ residents as it used to be in the past,” Mohammed Hadi said. He said that, “paving the road has made us feel safe and unfearful for our homes from the torrents.”
The Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) is funded by the World Bank and implemented across the 22 governorates of Yemen by UNDP in partnership with the Social Fund for Development and the Public Works Project. YECRP aims to mitigate the impact of the current crisis on local households and communities and assist their recovery through increasing short-term employment and livelihoods opportunities, restoring key service delivery through small-scale infrastructure, and reviving the local private sector.