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There is a road, there is a life

Men working on a construction site

The villagers work on rebuilding the road

The villagers work on rebuilding the road

Due to the conflict in Yemen which escalated in March 2015, over 24 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. People have lost jobs and income, and many are not able to meet their basic and immediate needs. Families have lost their primary sources of income and the poverty rate has dramatically increased.

Residents of Bayt Merain village in Kua’aidenah district of Hajjah governorate in northern Yemen were suffering already before the crisis as their only road was destroyed years ago, leaving them no way to easily access local markets to buy the things they need to survive.

Omer Al-Talhi, a 28-year-old father of four children, talks about the villagers’ continued suffering: “Women have to endure carrying food, harvests and water on their heads along the harsh mountain road. If there is a wedding the bride has to walk to her new house rather than going in a car. For years, I used to stop my motorcycle in the valley below because I couldn’t ride it on a road. Imagine you can’t get to your house by vehicle and you have to go on foot.”

In this village, men are forced to carry patients to the nearest village or to the valley where they can find a car. Students can’t go to school because of the lack of a road, and even friends and relatives are disconnected from the villagers in Bayt Merain and can’t visit them.

Fortunately, with funding from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), CARE intervened with cash for work which offered temporary employment opportunities to the villagers. In exchange for income, the men constructed a new road.

A stone road with rocks and bushes
The newly paved road

Omer tells us: “After CARE helped us in paving and rebuilding the road we can easily get to hospitals, local markets, and the city. The road will help us to rent a cars or trucks to bring water, food, building materials and construction tools.”

According to truck driver Mohammed Yahya previously it wasn’t possible to drive or transport any goods to Bayt Merain. He says: “After CARE’s response I am able to drive my truck on the road and have a chance to work in this village. Rebuilding the road give me a new income to support my family.”

With a laugh Omer informs us: “Can you believe that last week there was a wedding party in the village and it was the first time the bride was able to get to her house in a wedding car? It was a significant event in the village. People are now able to have proper wedding parties with singers and wedding tents. This road is the best thing we’ve received in a long time.”

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