Flash Floods Hit Aden, Hadi Orders Relief Measures
Flash floods caused by heavy rains have hit Yemen’s interim capital, Aden, leading to a power outage and city-wide immobilization.
Eight people, including five children, have been killed and dozens injured, officials said. The deaths take the national toll to at least 15 after the United Nations said that seven other people were killed by flooding in the north, where the country's long conflict is raging between the government and the Iran-backed Houthi militias.
A government official told AFP that along with the deaths in Aden, at least 10 homes were destroyed and 90 others severely damaged.
This coincided with Houthis continuing their attacks against Yemeni army locations in Sirwah district and the Marib, Dhale and Hajjah provinces.
Responding to public calls for draining the flood waters and housing stranded families whose homes have been destroyed, Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi ordered government teams to mobilize quickly to aid those affected by the flash floods.
Meteorologists warned that the atmospheric depression which caused the deluge on Tuesday and Wednesday will continue, asking Yemenis to be careful and to keep away from torrents.
Aden city witnessed a total power outage with local officials saying that the service was purposely shutdown to prevent a disaster from happening as the power grid was flooded with water.
Locals called for a swift intervention to drain the flood water before it mixes with the water network and sewerage waters and causes the spread of diseases because of piled garbage and mosquitoes.
Oxfam said on Wednesday that it was "extremely worried" about the recent storms, which have also hit other provinces across the country.
"People have died, houses damaged, (camps for displaced people) have been affected and this flooding may accelerate the spread of cholera," Samah Hadid, director of advocacy for Oxfam Yemen, told AFP.
Activists have uploaded video footage to social media showing local rescue operations carried out by residents in Aden. The footage also showed the effects of the destruction on homes and streets.
At least 35 families were stuck in their homes Wednesday, their houses submerged in water and mud, residents in Aden told AFP.
Salem Al-Khanbashi, Yemen’s deputy prime minister, was ordered by Hadi to take necessary measures to provide relief to the residents.
According to the state news agency Saba, Hadi stressed the need to activate the work of field committees concerned with relief and rescue to help all victims dealing with the resulting damages.
The UN refugee agency said Wednesday that the heavy rains and flooding have affected displaced Yemenis across the country, including the Houthi-held Sanaa and the flashpoint northern Marib province.
"Many families lost their shelter, and everything they own," the UNHCR said in a Twitter post accompanied by an image of a man transporting two children across the flooded streets in a tub.