AL-MUKALLA: Lightning strikes killed 45 people in Yemen in July, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization said, while local media reported almost the same number of lightning-related deaths this month.
In a routine agrometeorological alert issued on Wednesday, the FAO reported that intense lightning activity and thunderstorms last month killed 45 people and large numbers of livestock, mainly in Yemen’s highland provinces.
“Overall, field reports indicate that 45 people and several herds of livestock were confirmed dead across Yemen. As the kharif rainy season continues, there is a high likelihood of sustained lightning activities across much of Yemen. Lightning remains an active threat to pastoral farming across much of Yemen,” it said.
The report coincided with claims by local media and testimonies from individuals indicating that at least 45 Yemenis have been killed by lightning strikes since the start of August.
Two children died last week when lightning struck their home in the Bajel district of Hodeidah, a province in western Yemen, according to locals.
A young man in the same property escaped unhurt.
Most lightning-related fatalities were recorded in mountainous provinces, such as Amran, Mahweet, Sanaa, and Hajjah.
This month, lightning struck Mohammed Hassan Al-Hajj’s home in the Hufash district of Al-Mahweet region, killing him while he slept.
Numerous Yemenis shared on social media the image of Qusay Ghawth, a young man who was struck and killed by lightning in Aflah Al-Sham in the Hajjah district.
In the Khamir district of Amran’s highland province, a shepherd and more than 40 of her animals were killed by a lightning strike while they huddled near a cliff.
Yemen’s Red Crescent estimates there have been 150 lightning-related deaths and injuries since the beginning of the year.
It has urged Yemenis to take “simple” precautions, including turning off mobiles and landlines, disconnecting the internet, unplugging chargers and solar power panels, avoiding sheltering under trees, and staying indoors during thunderstorms.
Meanwhile, two civilians were killed in the province of Hodeidah after tampering with unexploded ordnance, Yemeni Landmine Records, an organization that monitors civilian land mine fatalities in the country, reported on Wednesday.
Ahmed Fetaini, 18, and Majed Yahiya, 30, were collecting trash in Hodeidah’s Ad Durayhimi district when blast occurred.
The same organization said that a deminer in the central province of Marib’s Raghwan region was injured when a land mine he was attempting to defuse detonated.
The Hodeidah city-based UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement said on Monday that explosions caused by land mines and other munitions killed five civilians and injured four others in Hodeidah’s Al-Hali, Al-Hawak, Ad Durayhimi, Bayt Al-Faqih and At Tuhayta districts in July.
The numbers represent a 13 percent increase on the previous month, but a 57 percent decrease on the same month last year.
Hodeidah is believed to have the highest concentration of land mines in Yemen. The Houthis planted thousands of explosive devices in the province to prevent Yemeni government forces from capturing territory.