Ibb’s Bittersweet Downpour

Water and Sanitation Office in Ibb City, Ibb

After a long period of drought in a country enduring unending conflict, rain is a welcome guest.

In Yemen, the average rainfall for the month of April is usually 18mm[1], but from April 12 to April 15 2016, the rainfall resulted in a daily average of 8.10mm [2]; an amount that greatly exceeded residents’ expectations this time of year. Yemen has two rainy seasons, a mild one during spring, and a heavier one during the summer. The spring rainy season does not usually peak this early, nor does it happen with such intensity[3], which surprised the residents of what Yemenis refer to as the “Green Governorate.”

The downpour that graced Ibb governorate for three straight days (04/12–04/15/2016) was a bittersweet event for its residents. Those who count on naturally sourced water such as rainwater and streams were excited to see their cisterns fill, farmers smiled as they watched their land soak up the water it has been longing for, children — who never get to play with the very precious water — are splashing in the streets, and even the conflict seems to have taken a break, with neither fighting nor airstrikes taking place in Ibb governorate for the duration of the downpour.

Despite the temporary relief, there was a downside: in a governorate experiencing a constant electrical outage for months, people have come to heavily, if not fully, depend on the power generated and stored by solar panels. The constant rain meant no sunlight, which translated to no power. As people enjoyed the abundance of water for a couple of days, they also hoped that the rain would soon cease so they might regain light and functional appliances.

Usually people hold prayers to ask God for rain, but even though rain is a blessing, we are praying for it to stop so our solar panels can get back to work on providing our homes with electricity.
— Male, 21, Student, Ibb City, Ibb