Rain, rain and more rain [Archives:2008/1202/Viewpoint]

October 27 2008

Nadia Al-Saqqaf
The storm affecting our region and especially the costal areas has caused at least 50 deaths and many damages in lands and infrastructure. Even in Sana'a, there is so much rain in the streets and the drainage system is screaming under the pressure especially the water purification station in Al-Rawda district in Sana'a. A lone station that breaks down every time there is a natural disaster of the like, leaving the district's air exploding with a rotten smell.

Yet in the same time there is hardly any water in the government water network, especially around Hadda and the diplomatic area where residents have to buy domestic water adding yet another expense to the increasing cost of living. Such an irony makes us wonder how come there is so much water all around and yet not in our taps. We are using underground water that had been stored for decades for our toilets and irrigation while we could have stored and used rain water for such purposes instead.

It is not just about domestic water. We don't have an adequate system in place when in normal times, how are we going to survive when disaster strikes like today? And what if this is a first in a series?

The damages caused by the storm to the infrastructure have set the stricken governorates years behind. Roads, buildings, bridges and all kinds of infrastructure have been damaged one way or the other. There is concern that Shibam historical city – the ancient skyscrapers – which is a UNESCO reserved landmark is getting severely damaged by the storm and some of the buildings have actually been eaten away by the rain and wind. Socotra, the beautiful island in the Indian Ocean, also a natural heritage site, has been drenched completely, and the people who usually live there in huts and slums are no homeless. Their livelihood depends mainly on animal livestock and some farming, and both of these assets if not completely ruined are affected largely.

Sometimes I wonder if God is sending us a message telling us to quit fooling around and be more honest in handling our country otherwise we would land up with leftovers of a country rather than the so-called Arabian Felix. There is so much corruption, misuse of resources, irresponsible terrorist acts and now even natural disasters.

It feels like the Pharos when they did not believe in Moses's call to God and were sent the seven signs yet they did not surrender. We have been sent many signs and we suffer from them everyday but we are not sure who our Moses of today is, otherwise I am sure we would surrender. Because unlike the Pharos who were strong and mighty, we are desperate and really need guidance to the extent that we would follow behind any credible leader. Just let him (or her) show-up and lead the way.