International aid agency CARE reported this week that up to 91 people are now believed to have died following heavy rains and flash flooding in Yemen, with more heavy rains likely.
Rainfall 300% above average
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), rainfall in July was nearly 300% above average. Amanat Al Asimah, Dhamar, Amran and Sanaa reported heavy downpours exceeding 150mm and generally dry governorates such as Hadramaut and Al Maharah were extremely wet throughout the month.
91 dead, 30,000 families affected
Widespread destructive flash floods washed away infrastructure, homes, food stocks and livestock. According to CARE, nearly 30,000 families have been affected and at least 91 people killed, a figure that is expected to rise, with many more injured or missing. The hardest hit governorates were Hajjah and Mahweet in the northwest and Marib in central Yemen.
“The country is grappling with the impact of more than 7 years of conflict, which has resulted in one of the highest populations of internally displaced people in the world. It is therefore devastating to see families who were content with the bare minimum, who had lived in tents for years, struggling to access even the most basic services, now see the little they had left swept away and destroyed,” Bushra said. Aldukhainah. , Area Manager for the CARE Yemen office in Hajjah. “In recent days, we have mobilized our teams to respond to the most immediate needs of the people concerned. We have already provided cash assistance to 25 families and are preparing to help another 230 families.
However, more than 15,000 families affected by Hajjah will need access to food, water, shelter, sanitation and replacement of damaged or taken away property. CARE and other humanitarian actors are working to ensure that at least 4,000 families in Hajjah receive cash assistance to enable them to support themselves. Bushra said.
At least 190 sites housing more than 12,000 displaced families in Marib were damaged by the floods, alongside the communities that hosted them.
Threat of flooding until the end of August
More heavy rains are expected in the coming days. “The devastating floods are expected to continue until the end of August. A renewed interest in early action against floods at all levels must be considered a matter of urgency,” FAO said in a recent agro-meteorological update for Yemen (pdf).
“The risk of continued flooding based on analyzes of rainfall forecasts remains high until the end of August. Although the floods which pose a powerful threat to lives, agriculture and livelihoods cannot be eradicated, they can be managed.Therefore, this early warning of the potential for continued flooding calls for renewed interest in rapid flood action at all levels, including but not including limit, humanitarian agencies, government and individual farmers,” the FAO added.
WHO provides emergency aid
The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided emergency aid, in urgent response to the needs of flood-affected communities in Yemen, the UN agency announced on August 17, 2022.
WHO has supported four specialized trauma teams and six service ambulances, as well as set up 34 early epidemiological detection points in Ma’rib – one of the worst affected governorates – where thousands of shelters for families displaced were destroyed.
Critical emergency medical supplies were also distributed to rapid response and emergency medical teams in Hajjah, Al Mahaweet and Raymah governorates.
Alongside its steady monthly supply of 144,600 liters of fuel to 11 hospitals, WHO worked with health authorities to prepare a comprehensive preparedness and response plan for heavy rains and floods in the governorate of Al Hodeidah.
WHO also provided equipment to the Central Public Health Laboratory and trained 25 laboratory technicians in the microscopic diagnosis of malaria.
“With heavy rains expected to continue until the end of August 2022, we have intensified our response to reach those affected and prevent any possible outbreak of these diseases,” the WHO representative said.
Additional cholera kits, intravenous solutions, cholera rapid diagnostic tests and additional modules of the interagency emergency health kit are in progress. WHO continues to provide assistance as the situation evolves.
Feature photo: File photo of the floods in Yemen in 2020. Photo: UNHCR