GENEVA: Torrential rains and widespread flooding across 12 provinces in Yemen in recent weeks have affected tens of thousands of people, leaving many in urgent need of emergency assistance.
Humanitarian assessments are ongoing, but preliminary reports from local authorities indicate that more than 80,000 people have been impacted. Initial reports are that the floods have also claimed at least three lives, but the full extent of casualties is still not known.
Hajjah governorate in north-west Yemen, which is host to many internally displaced people is among the worst affected, with more than 50,000 people reported to be in need of help, said Wam..
Many are people living in emergency shelters and informal settlements. Their tents and tarpaulins have been damaged by rains, exposing them to homelessness and associated protection risks.
Other affected governorates include Taiz, Ibb, Raymah, Dhamar, Al Bayda, Marib, Al Jawf, Aden, Lahj, Abyan, and Hadramaut.
The floods have also impacted health clinics, pharmaceutical supplies, food stocks, schools, and sanitation facilities– increasing health risks. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and humanitarian partners are concerned that the flooding may exacerbate the risks and spread of diseases, including cholera. More than 364,000 suspected cases of cholera and 639 deaths have been reported across Yemen since the beginning of the year by World Health Organisation, WHO, nearing the total for all of 2018.
UNHCR teams together with other humanitarian partners and local authorities have already begun conducting assessments in IDP hosting sites in Aden, Lahej, Hadramaut, Abyan and Hajjah.
Among main needs identified so far are emergency shelter, food, water and sanitation, particularly for those displaced and living in informal settlements.
As a preliminary step, UNHCR is providing 745 emergency shelter kits, as well as household assistance and materials to help repair damaged shelters in Lahj, Hadramaut and Aden, which will help more than 5,200 people.