Water, Food Shortages Squeeze Yemen Already one of the poorest countries by many measures, Yemen — a nation of roughly 22 million people — has been struck by severe droughts and depleted water supplies in recent years. Some Yemenis are calling the situation a potential time bomb.
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Water, Food Shortages Squeeze Yemen

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Water, Food Shortages Squeeze Yemen

Water, Food Shortages Squeeze Yemen

Water, Food Shortages Squeeze Yemen

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Normally, the terraced hillsides of the Haraz Mountains west of the Yemeni capital of San'a would be green with vegetation — coffee bushes, khat trees, wheat or fruit orchards. Because of recent droughts, the hillsides are brown and dusty. Matthew Kuehl for NPR hide caption

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Matthew Kuehl for NPR

Normally, the terraced hillsides of the Haraz Mountains west of the Yemeni capital of San'a would be green with vegetation — coffee bushes, khat trees, wheat or fruit orchards. Because of recent droughts, the hillsides are brown and dusty.

Matthew Kuehl for NPR

This 65-year-old shepherdess has worked in the hills all her life. She says that five of her 25 sheep have died in the past month, as they struggled to find food among the dust-covered, parched plants on the Haraz Mountains. Matthew Kuehl for NPR hide caption

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Matthew Kuehl for NPR

This 65-year-old shepherdess has worked in the hills all her life. She says that five of her 25 sheep have died in the past month, as they struggled to find food among the dust-covered, parched plants on the Haraz Mountains.

Matthew Kuehl for NPR

In Focus

Sheikh Abdullah Hussein Khalil, 68, is the leader of Hajjarah village in the Haraz Mountains. Everyone in his village is waiting for rain. "With no rain," he says, "there's no work." Matthew Kuehl for NPR hide caption

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Matthew Kuehl for NPR

Sheikh Abdullah Hussein Khalil, 68, is the leader of Hajjarah village in the Haraz Mountains. Everyone in his village is waiting for rain. "With no rain," he says, "there's no work."

Matthew Kuehl for NPR

The village of Hajjarah is perched precariously on a stone cliff, accessible only by footpath. Matthew Kuehl for NPR hide caption

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Matthew Kuehl for NPR

The village of Hajjarah is perched precariously on a stone cliff, accessible only by footpath.

Matthew Kuehl for NPR

Correction June 3, 2008

The audio version of this story incorrectly refers to the Haraz Mountains as home to the highest peak in the Middle East. The Middle East's highest peak is actually in Iran, not Yemen.