Torrential rains in Yemen cause floods and cut off towns

Local reports say Hadramawt province recorded the most rainfall overnight

A flooded street in Sanaa, Yemen, March 29, 2023. Reuters
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Torrential rainfall across Yemen caused widespread flooding that cut off several towns, local media reported.

The rains started overnight and continued into Thursday morning.

Reports said that Hadramawt province recorded the most rainfall overnight, with the rain damaging dozens of homes and cutting off several towns.

Videos online showed flooding on several roads linking Seiyun district and Mukalla, the main city in the eastern province.

Parts of Shabwa province in Yemen's south-east suffered heavy rains concentrated in the districts of Rudum, Beihan, Mayfaa, Markha and Ain.

Since last April, flash floods in Yemen have damaged already poor infrastructure across the country, including roads, water sources and healthcare centres.

Last summer, at least 10 500-year-old buildings collapsed in Sanaa's historic Old City, a Unesco World Heritage site. About 80 inhabited houses were also destroyed and hundreds of tents housing internally displaced people were swept away in heavy rains that killed at least 91 people across the country.

By the end of last summer, the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that 51,000 families and more than 300,000 people were affected in 146 districts in 18 provinces in Yemen.

The UN has allocated $44 million to address the fallout from the flooding.

Earlier this month, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees warned that a quarter of the sites housing people displaced by Yemen's civil war were at risk from floods.

There are more than half a million people in these camps.

According to the UN Population Fund, about 77 per cent of the 4.3 million displaced people in Yemen are women and children. Approximately 26 per cent of displaced households are now headed by women, compared to 9 per cent before the escalation of the conflict in 2015, the agency said.

Yemen's National Centre of Meteorology warned of severe weather across much of the country until at least Thursday.

Flooding has also affected neighbouring Oman, with videos shared online showing muddy water overflowing on to roads in the north-eastern city of Nizwa. Heavy rain fell continuously from Monday evening into Tuesday afternoon in North Al Batinah, Musandam and Al Dhahirah.

Updated: March 30, 2023, 9:24 AM