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“With the new road, life has become easier”

Mountain roads

In the heart of the Al Hussein District in Al-Dhale province, southern Yemen, lies Harir mountainous road. The ragged road to Harir Village, home to nearly 2,135 families, is the primary lifeline that connects it with eleven villages in the region. It is also a secondary road to ten other villages.

Harir Road has suffered from damage and neglect over the years, with conflict and a lack of regular maintenance rendering the road nearly impassable. Moreover, heavy rains and floods destroyed large segments of the road, throwing huge mountain rocks onto the road and causing potholes. The extensive damage on the road hindered people’s and vehicles’ mobility and disrupted access to essential services such as markets, health facilities, and schools.

The eight-year conflict in Yemen has caused thousands of casualties and displaced over four million people. Over 80 percent of the country’s population struggles to access food, safe drinking water, and adequate health services. The impacts of Yemen’s prolonged conflict extend beyond casualties and displacement as civilian infrastructure has been severely damaged. Roads and bridges, including on main supply routes, have been damaged or closed, hindering the movement of residents, goods, and humanitarian assistance.

In rural areas, economic deterioration and lack of income and jobs further challenge families’ ability to make ends meet. Poor roads mean increased food prices, transportation costs, and living expenses. For instance, families in remote areas often have to make the hard decision of either spending money on transportation to access schools or health facilities or buying food, forced to prioritize the latter.

Nasr Mohammed, a resident of Harir Village. Photo Elyas Al-Wazir/ CARE Yemen

Nasr Mohammed has spent his entire life in Harir Village and, like other villagers, has always dreamed of a paved road that would connect their village to the outside world. Transportation from the village to the district’s center was expensive, forcing residents to carry goods and patients on their shoulders. The residents have also witnessed many horrible accidents on the road due to the poor condition of the road.

“We have always dreamed of having a road near our village to make transportation easier. The rugged terrain has made travel difficult, and cars have been unable to enter our area. Transporting goods from the market to the village was costly, and women and children needed a protected road because walking has been their only means of transport.”

Abdulwahab, another resident of Harir Village, adds, “It took us nearly four hours to travel to the nearest city to buy goods or visit the health center. We suffered greatly from the distance and the risky, bumpy road. When I had any work outside the village, I would leave my home at six in the morning and return at six in the evening, just waiting for a car to pick me up.”

To address these challenges, CARE delivers a Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) project in the Al Hussein District of Al-Dhale province Governorate. The FFA project promotes the construction and rehabilitation of critical community assets. It improves food security and resilience by providing cash for vulnerable families to buy food while supporting residents to build or rehabilitate community assets, such as roads and schools. Through the project, the people of Harir Village paved the road to their village and their participation meant they were able to earn much-needed income to buy food and other essentials for their families.

Abdulwahab worked in road paving and used his wage to buy food for his family. Photo Elyas Al-Wazir/ CARE Yemen

Both Naser and Abdulwahab worked in paving Harir Road and benefited from the short-term employment created by the FFA project. “When we worked on the road,” says Abdulwahab, “we felt like we were building something that truly belonged to us, our children, and the people in our community. The physical effort of carrying stones and paving the road was overshadowed by the hope of having a safe road. I used my wage to provide nutritious food for my family, including fish and chicken. I also saved some money to buy a motorcycle and have started working in transportation and delivery service since the road is paved and safe now,” he adds.

“With the new road, life has become easier,” says Naser. “People and goods are moving about much more easily, and transportation costs have decreased. Building protection walls along the paved road improved road safety, especially for women and children. We are grateful for this project and hope to see more projects restore infrastructure and services in our area,” he concludes.

The newly paved road in Harir District. Photo: Elyas Al-Wazir/ CARE Yemen
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