Utmah Sanctury The Beauty of Heaven Manifested in Yemen [Archives:1999/38/Last Page]

September 20 1999

Yasser Mohamed Ahmed
Yemen Times

Yemen has been a wonder to many people throughout history, it is distinguished for its most beautiful views that are of a magnificent beauty. As a result we find flocks of tourists coming here to see this beauty that many countries envy Yemen for. Many are the places that if given the attention needed, treasures will be gained. Yemen Times has always been a strong advocate of a trend to exploit the natural places that scatter all over Yemen, to be better used for the welfare of the society. This field survey was made to one of the captivating places in one of the districts of Dhamar, Utmah.
Utmah has recently achieved an international interest and attention. Many well known personalities including ambassadors, diplomats as well as Yemeni officials paid a-two-day visit to Utmah, recently. This is undoubtedly a sure sign that this district has a pivotal location as well as importance, otherwise these great figures will not bear the trouble.
Utmah is a district of Dhamar and is 58km far from Dhamar. Its geographic location is important for it is located on the natural extension of the Al-sarah Mountains which start from Aden and end in the North of the peninsula. It consists of five areas “Makhaleef” and its people are around 132,628. The climate variations has resulted in a variation of crops which vary between the crops of cold and moderate districts to that of tropical districts. So Utmah is a main source for grains’ production.
In Yemen Times survey, a number of people were met who talked about Utmah and its importance. Some of them are the following:
AbdulMalek Solaiman Al-Malami, from Utmah, worker in the Ministry of Education and Chairman of Administrative Organization of Utmah Sanctuary said the following: “Utmah district has different kinds of trees, medical as well as incense trees. It also has lots of forests that spread in different parts of the district. All this qualifies Utmah to be a wild sanctuary. The idea of making this district a wild sanctuary was thought of long ago. However, the first step to accomplish this goal was made last March when the Council of Protecting Environment in the Ministry of Agriculture organized a symposium in which quite a good number of academic personalities participated. The symposium came out with a number of instructions which were made best by presenting a request to the Cabinet to declare Utmah a wild sanctuary. Fortunately, a decision was declared on 861999. Furthermore, a meeting with the UNISCO was held to draft the maps of the district and to specify what are the plants, areas and medicines that will be included in this sanctuary. What I really hope is that coordination with different governmental or non-governmental organizations will take pace so as to obtain much support and services that will help develop the district, especially in respect of dams that are of much importance. Utmah lacks a lot of facilities and the people suffer a lot. However, we are still cherishing the hope that the government will do something to improve things in this district for the President paid a visit to this district in 1993 and inaugurated a number of projects that are in the completion period.”
Regarding declaring Utmah as a wild sanctuary he said ” declaring is not enough because it is just mere words. However, we consider it as a first step to go a long way to develop and improve things here to make it a captivating tourist resort. The UNISCO has provided assistance and strong support. The UNISCO has supported the primary studies, researches and making maps of the district. We very much appreciate all their efforts and help.”Abduh Mahdee Saleh, General Manager of Tourist Investment said “We have been well-informed of all that Utmah is distinguished for, either in the agriculture or animal level and that of its geographic location. However, this district lacks lots of projects despite the fact that the people of this district have natural factors that if better exploited, would be a good source of gaining and earning money. There are some services which are very vital for protecting this district from disappearing. For example, gas services that can be a good alternative for destroying trees and forests. We are also in need of water tanks as well as dams to keep water of rain.”Abdullah Mohammed Hizam, Vice Executive Manager of the Tourist Council in the Ministry of culture, said “I am invited to visit this district to be acquainted with the place here. I have been to many places and districts of the Republic and I have written two books called “The Tourist Guide” and “The Tourist Guide For the Republic Of Yemen”. I am also well informed of many places and districts that could be declared as wild sanctuaries, however, the district of Utmah is absolutely different from the rest for it is very much distinguished for its green lands, there are also variations in plants and in climate. For the sake of example, we find that there are around 650 different plants in Soqatrah. However, they can never be compared to the green landscape of Utmah District. Utmah is a very fertile land that should never miss the attention and care of people as well as of government.
Ahmad Abdullah Saleh Al-Gaoori said that the decision issued to make Utmah a wild sanctuary was right. He also expressed his hopes that such a decision will be throned by providing projects that the district is in a dire need of. Another problem that is really faced by the people living in Utmah is transportation; roads are not paved and are very difficult to drive on. Moreover, there is no electricity.
Nasser Mohammed Abdullah, Chairman of Activities Department in Utmah, said that we really approve of declaring Utmah a wild sanctuary, however, we are still waiting to the things that will come after this decision. He also pointed out that “we are good at making decisions, however, when it comes to practice we prove failure. The people even lack the basic needs such as water, schools, and electricity. Hence, the people in charge will prove now whether they still following the trend or that they have changed their ways. So we want to taste the fruits of this decision or there is no use of it. It is true that electricity project was established a year ago, but until now what we have are just some posts and we are still living in the dark.”In short, Yemen Times as well as the people of Utmah asserted that we all should join hands to make Utmah a real nice wild sanctuary.