Yemen is a desert country located on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. With the exception of the coastal plains in the west, Yemen is continuously elevated with high and dry mountains having jagged peaks and plateaus covering most of the country. Yemen has no permanent rivers, but the highland regions are interspersed with several seasonal river valleys, called “Wadi”. A wadi is a valley, ravine, or channel that is dry except in the rainy season. The most notable among these are Wadi Hadhramaut and Wadi Dawan, in eastern and central Yemen.

The Wadi Hadramaut consists of a narrow, arid coastal plain bounded by the steep escarpment of a broad plateau, with a very sparse network of deeply sunk wadis. Haid al-Jazil is a village in this region. The buildings cling to the hillside or stand on the plateau, at a height of 100 to 200 meters (328 to 656 ft) above the level of the valley. Many of them hang above the rocks. The houses are built of mud bricks with wooden floors and rise several stories tall. This adobe (clay) structures need to be constantly repaired particularly after the summer rains that tend to wash away the mud coatings and weaken the structure.

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