SAUDI ARABIA – Australian Financial PressMore than two decades ago, a town of just 200 people, Beaujolias village in the southern desert north of Oman, became a symbol of despair and isolation after a series of floods swept through the area in the 1980s.
For most of its history, BeauJolias has been a fishing village in an area known as the ‘Jabir Gulf’.
Its small townspeople have remained there despite a series to the desert, often under the threat of forced displacement, and have struggled to cope with a new reality.
It was during a drought that struck the village in 1985 that the community faced a devastating flood, the worst in its history.
The floods brought on by the drought have caused massive damage to the village’s infrastructure, and a new dam is planned for the area.
But the community is not giving up.
“It’s a small village, and I don’t know what to do,” said Dahi al-Khaled, a local elder and a prominent member of the community.
“We want to protect it, but we don’t have the funds.
We’re trying to protect the townspeoples, the people who live here, and our culture.”
A new dam will help protect the village and its cultural heritage, but the community wants the dam to be built within the community’s existing boundaries.
That’s why a group of residents are standing up for their rights, and they’re fighting back.
Dahi al Khaled (centre) and his family live in Beaujols village in Oman.
He is one of more than two dozen people who have started a campaign against a dam planned for Beaujoli, an area in southern Oman that has become a symbol for the desert’s ongoing flood crisis.
Dati Abdallah (right) has been in Beaujames village since it was destroyed by a flood.
He has been fighting to save the village.
“There’s nothing in our country we can do to stop the dam from going up,” he said.
“The dam is going to destroy this town.
There’s no other way.”
In a bid to prevent the dam being built, the villagers have organised a series on Facebook, with posters using their names to encourage their fellow residents to join them in their efforts.
“This is not a funny picture, it’s an opportunity for all of us to be together,” one poster said.
“People want the dam not to happen, we want the water to stop coming.”
Al-Khaleh, an activist, is also fighting to preserve the village through his own actions.
In the early 1990s, the community was hit by an earthquake and tsunami, which caused widespread destruction.
A year later, the dam was finally built, and it has helped protect the area’s cultural heritage and economy.
Dhi al- Khaled has been living in the village for more than 30 years, and says he is determined to keep fighting.
“We have the best chance to survive the flood, but if we don, there will be no Beaujoles,” he told AP.
“This is the last hope for the town.”