Rebuilding Aden: the challenge

The destruction wrought on Aden by the Houthi rebellion has been less publicised than that of Syria, but is just as great.

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Seen from space, this is the full extent of destruction in the port city of Aden; an image that illustrates the huge challenge of reconstruction.

It was taken by the Pleiades 1B satellite barely a week ago as it passed over Yemen.

The image has been analysed by Unosat, the United Nations agency that combines satellite photographs and Geographic Information Systems, and Unitar, the organisation’s training agency, to assist the UN in its decision making.

It was through Unosat that the world learnt of ISIL’s demolition of 2,000-year-old Palmyra temples.

The destruction wrought on Aden by the Houthi rebellion has been less publicised than that of Syria, but is just as great.

At least 839 structures were completely destroyed or severely damaged by the end of August. This represented a 30 per cent increase on the last damage analysis in May.

This includes the main market, almost completely levelled, and the port, now blocked with sunken ships. Thirteen medical centres lie within 100 metres of damaged or destroyed buildings.

One of the main targets in the fighting to retake city from Houthi rebels was Aden’s main airport. The image shows dozens of craters from shelling and explosives around the runway. The UN agencies said that this was only a provisional analysis. It had not been possible yet to carry out a more detailed assessment.

plangton@thenational.ae