AL-MUKALLA: Torrential rains and flooding in Yemen have killed 20 people, displaced thousands and destroyed hundreds of houses and farms across the war-torn country, local government officials and media reports said on Tuesday.
The Health Ministry’s local office in Marib, the hardest hit Yemeni province, said that 17 people including eight children had died as a result of the harsh weather during the past few days and that hospitals were put on heightened alert.
Local health officials said that hospitals were braced for an increase in fatalities and patients, as rainstorms continue to lash residential areas as well as wash away farms and livestock.
The health office said the districts of Rawdha, Al-Jawba, Hareb, Al-Wadi and Marib countryside that host a large number of internally displaced people were particularly affected.
Residents told Arab News on Tuesday that floods from the overflowing Marib dam besieged several heavily populated camps for internally displaced people in Rawdha amid a shortage of food, shelter and medical supplies.
Due to Marib’s improving security and stability, the city has become a safe haven for tens of thousands of Yemenis who fled fighting between the Iran-backed Houthis and the internationally recognized government.
State media said on Monday that Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed instructed local authorities in Marib province to intensify relief efforts and prevent dam-related flooding from causing more damage.
Bulldozers were seen building up sand barriers near the dam to block water from spreading further into residential areas and cutting off a vital road that links Marib with other provinces.
In Houthi-held Sanaa, residents said that parts of a wall that surrounds the UNESCO World Heritage site of Old Sanaa and shores up its ancient houses had collapsed due to the heavy rain.
A family escaped with their lives after their home partially collapsed in the same area, and residents voiced concerns about the possible disintegration of other houses. Videos on social media showed heavy floods engulfing the streets of Sanaa and sweeping away cars and property.
In Sanaa province, local media reports said that two women and a child were killed when their house was destroyed due to heavy rain in a rural area. In Amran, dozens of houses were damaged or ruined when a dam burst following heavy rain in the Hababa region.
Aden, the interim capital of Yemen, was declared a “disaster area” in April after heavy rain and flash floods killed at least nine and deluged houses and electricity and water stations.