17 August, 2013

In Hadhramout, rain is a great blessing and can be destructive

In the last few days, many parts of Wadi Hadhramout and the Highlands have had rains and showers. The rains, so far, have not been destructive. Most people living in these parts are delighted and very grateful for the rains. With the whole of Hadhramout being a desert and with very little rain - when it rains, people rejoice. Rural living people in particular. 'Mercy' (رحمة) and 'blessing' (نعمة) is what the locals call 'rain'. Indeed, rain is a much needed mercy and a blessing for all desert living people.

In the Arabian Peninsular, Hadhramaut has abundant underground, fresh water. It has one of the largest underground water reservoirs in the Middle East. Much of it is untapped. Wadi Hadhramaut is also one of the most fertile valleys in the world; though not mentioned in most books or writings, the Hadhramout Valley rivals the San Joaquin valley in California, the Zambezi Valley in Southern Africa and the Fergana in Russia. At the moment, very little of the Wadi is irrigated or cultivated; and much of its cultivated land depends on rainfall.

In Hadhramout, rainfall is seasonal and at times, it can take long, even years (like during the last Great Famine), for it to rain. Most people in the rural areas, keep land ready, with seeds - waiting for rain. After it rains, as it has now - within a few days, the seeds sprout. Both cultivated and wild. Farmers rejoice for the crops they would harvest; and herders are delighted because they know that after the rains, they would have plenty of food for their flocks to graze on.

 But rain can also be very destructive. Roads can be flooded and transport by road, can be very difficult or even impossible. In the past, many times, after heavy rains - roads and bridges are washed away; and they can remain impassable for days. After such heavy rains, floods can kill many people and many houses (in the Wadi, in particular, where most of its houses are made of mud bricks) can be destroyed. In 2008, heavy rains and floods caused extensive destruction in many parts of Hadhramaut, especially in the Wadi.

Be it in Hadhramout or any other drought stricken or desert parts of the world, when it rains - no matter what calamity the rains bring, people become happy and rejoice. Rain means greenery. Means green on the cultivated lands and on wild land. Rain means food for people and for herds. Rain is water; is prosperity; is survival; is life.

PS: reportedly, yesterday or the day before, one person has been swept away by floods in Wadi Sa'ah (Wadi Sa'ah is a narrower valley that is part of Wadi Hadhramout). Some say more than one person was swept away.