Yemen Red Sea Islands [Archives:2001/36/Last Page]

September 3 2001

Many names have been attached to the Red Sea throughout history. Among those names are Yamsuf, Erythra Thalass, The Arabs’ Gulf, Pharaoh Sea, Yemen’s Sea, The South’s Sea, etc.
The location of the Red Sea in the middle of the eastern and western seas, and between the Mediterranean Sea and the Ocean, bestows great importance on it. There are many other facts that help it be of more importance. Being the main water route for the Gulf oil exports to West Europe, a vital point for refueling and providing maintenance for ships, rich in mineral wealth, especially oil, an easily controlled route, etc., are chief among these facts.
As far as Yemen is concerned, importance of the Red Sea steams from the good number of trading seaports in Hodeidah, Saleef, Khokhah, Makha from which Yemeni oil is exported, electricity power stations which provide power for harbors and cities, the huge fish wealth, mineral and coral wealth, etc. This importance was enhanced after the inauguration of the Sues Canal in 1869, a thing that made strong powers struggle for controlling the Red sea Water routes.
The Red Sea is characterized by high tides, temperature, salinity, purity of water, different kinds of wind, varying depths, etc. Salinity rate decreases where Wadis flow. It is also characterized by many coral reefs which become thicker as one moves southward. The coral reefs divide the Sea into three routes, one main route in the middle of the sea and two coastal routes. Vaporization from the Red Sea helps increase the volume of rain and straighten the Northern Wind.
The Red Sea is one of the most salty seas in the world because it is not connected with oceans, except through the Bab Al-Mandab Strait and because of the lack of rivers flowing into it. Salinity of the Red Sea varies according to the location. For example, it is more salty as you go deeper.
The Yemeni islands on the red sea are divided into three groups: Hajjah Islands, Aden Islands, and Hodeidah islands.
1) Hajjah
Al-Aasheq Al-Sagheer Island
This is a very small atoll stretching for about 1.5 KM. It is 10 km away from Midi city. No inhabitants live here, except members of a garrison. No water sources are available here. Drink water is brought by the garrison or fishermen who come to this island occasionally.
Being surrounded by thick coral reefs, large numbers of shrimps breed here. Different kinds of birds dwell here, making the island a perfect peaceful place for bird watchers.
Dhu Hirab Island
This is a 8.65 sandy island. It is 89 km away from Midi. The island is a fishing center for hundreds of fishermen. It is also a big supermarket for marketing fish to the neighboring countries. If developed, the island can be converted into an economic and a tourist point and a center for fueling ships and boats.
The thick coral reefs stretch over more than 3 km around the island making it a good place for diving.
Many kinds of mollucus, coral reefs and fish here are hardly found any where in the world. The island is surrounded by a belt of coral reefs attached to the beach, creating a fascinating place for diving. Many kinds of birds also live here.
Fosht Island
This is one of two inhabited islands in Hajjah. The 600 people of the island mainly depend on fishing. However, they are always bothered by foreign ships which trespass the Yemeni territorial water.
The coral reefs here are among the best kinds. The island is also rich in many kinds of marine life like yellow fine tuna, king fish Spanish makrel, sharks, rock lobster, mollucus, cuttle fish, shells, reptiles, sponge, etc.
Though newly built, the only health center on the island is visited by people to chew qat. No doctor or even a nurse is there. It is also a residence for a teacher.
As far as education is concerned, the only five-class school provides basic education for 17 students, 7 boys and 10 girls. The small number of young students is attributed to refraining form marriage owing to high dowries.
The local teachers are female, who complain about not receiving their salaries.
Buklan Island
Buklan Island is located in the north of the Red Sea. It has a very strategic location in the middle of the Red Sea. It has a population of 350 inhabitants and a total area of 25 km. Most of the inhabitants of the island are fishermen. These are always bothered and annoyed by foreign fishingships, illegally trespassing the territorial waters.
This island is gifted with many diving places. Furthermore, the strong wind can make it a fine place for yachting.
The Buklan Island lacks the basic service facilities such as health units, schools and water projects. The fishing boats in the island are not up to standard and, mostly owned by people not from the island.
Source: Yemeni Islands Promotion and Development Authority