Some of the oldest buildings and historical monuments in Al-Mahra Governorate have been destroyed due to climate change and the hurricanes that have struck them over the past years.
Hisn Bin Mesmar, also called in the Mahri language (Zhilm Dion), was on the verge of partial collapse due to Hurricane Tej, which hit the governorate late last October, causing extensive damage, especially in the districts of Haswin and Al- Ghaydah.
The hurricane was accompanied by strong winds, storm surge, and major flash floods, often resulting in loss of life and severe damage to infrastructure, including archaeological and historical sites.
The fortress is located in the heart of the Qishn District towards the east, and was a strong fortress for the Bani Mismar to manage the affairs and foreign relations of the tribe.
The fortress is a witness of ancient wars and battles. It was established about 700 years ago, according to local historians, and consists of three floors, the third of which was built specifically for wars, confirming that it is one of the oldest fortresses in the city of Qishn, and witnessed many historical events and evidence.
The fort provided many services to the Bani Mismar tribe and the people of the region at that time. In addition to being a strong historical fort, it contained food shops near it, which served as further proof of the existence of a popular market for many. goods
But this historical landmark has been affected by the hurricanes and floods that Al-Mahra governorate has experienced, especially during the past ten years, which were enough to destroy parts of it.
Climate change threatens Mahra’s historical heritage
The assets of the cultural heritage in Al-Mahra Governorate, such as historical buildings, archaeological sites, and monuments, and their contents and collections, as well as their intangible aspects, are a legacy of an ancient past that gives its inhabitants a sense of place, identity and aesthetic luxury.
Tropical cyclones are considered a common natural hazard that has greatly affected Al-Mahra Governorate, especially during the last ten years.
Jason Nichols, AccuWeather’s chief meteorologist, says cyclones forming in the Arabian Sea are not unheard of, but it is unusual for a storm to track near Yemen.
“They seem to make landfall every five years or so,” Nichols told Newsweek, adding that the last hurricane to make landfall near Yemen was in 2018. “What’s helped this year is warmer water, and the conditions are right for development.” On the Arabian Sea this year.”
UNESCO says that climate change has become one of the most important threats facing World Heritage properties, which can affect their Outstanding Universal Value, including their integrity and authenticity, and their potential for economic and social development at the local level.
Fayez Ali Suhail Balhaf, Director General of Social Affairs, Chairman of the Governor’s Relief Committee, said in previous statements that Hurricane Tej left “a lot of destruction in public and private property in the Al-Ghaydah-Huswin-Hawf districts.”
The head of the relief committee indicated that only in the Huswain district there are more than 200 houses completely destroyed, in addition to hundreds of partially damaged houses to varying degrees in the three districts.
Preserving heritage is everyone’s responsibility
Regarding the risks and threats to the heritage of Al-Mahra due to climate change, the head of the political department in the Al-Mahra sitting committee and an expert on the heritage of the governorate, Saeed Afri, says that some archaeological monuments have been damaged by hurricanes and climate change, especially Hurricane Tej.
It is reported that the cultural heritage in the county still resists the climate and its changes, but it will not survive and requires great efforts to preserve it from destruction and extinction.
He confirmed that there are indeed some ancient archaeological monuments or very old and big houses and houses that have been damaged in almost the Huswain District, and most of them are not monuments but rather old houses.
He added: “We hope that the competent authorities will work to restore it as it was, pointing out that everyone must preserve the heritage and participate with the local authority in raising awareness of its importance, in addition to contributing to construction and restoration so that it is safe from any damage that may befall it from hurricanes, or from theft.” And others.