Three children killed and 100 injured as storms hit Yemen camps

Three people missing after heavy rains brought flooding to camps for internally displaced

File photo: Rescuers said makeshift dwellings in Yemen's camps were at a heightened risk from flooding. WAM
Powered by automated translation

At least three children died and almost 100 people were injured when flooding from a thunderstorm struck 18 camps for the internally displaced in Yemen’s Marib province on Wednesday, officials said.

The children were members of the same family, Najeeb Al Sadi, the camps' head, told The National.

Mr Al Sadi said they died while sheltering together from the heavy rain.

The storms and flooding, caused “massive devastation” in the camps, he said.

“The situation in Marib is catastrophic, " Mr Al Sadi said. "Thousands of the [residents] have been made homeless as the floods destroyed their shelters.

“They need urgent response to provide them with temporary shelters and lifesaving aid supplies such as clean water and food."

The flooding destroyed thousands of tents housing vulnerable people and brought down shelters that had only recently been built by people seeking safety in the country’s north.

Mohammed Hafyed, who took part in the rescue operation, told The National that the most recently built shelters were constructed near flood ducts.

Mr Hafyed said floodwaters directed by drainage channels swept away everything in their path.

Camp residents who survived the floods said they had lost everything.

“We fled our city in Ibb as the Houthis took over in 2015,” said one woman, whose house was completely destroyed by the floods told.

“Since then we kept collecting money for more than three years to build our own residence here.

“My husband and my children kept working day and night to build these two rooms. Alas, everything has gone.

“We have been living in the open since Wednesday. We barely managed to survive.”

Activists in Marib called on the Yemeni government and international humanitarian organisations to urgently respond to the worsening situation in the camps.

Thousands of families in the camps were made homeless by the flooding.

Aid groups operating in Yemen on Thursday said they were working on plans to help people affected by the floods.

“We are looking for ways to urgently respond to the needs of the IDPs in Marib province,” said Yara Khawaja, spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Yemen.

“I can’t tell how and when we will start our intervention there but we are accelerating to respond to those people."

Ms Khawaja said the Red Cross had just delivered the first round of assistance for displaced people in the province.

“We have been working in partnership with the Yemeni Red Crescent to provide food and non-food assistance for tens of thousands of IDPs, in addition to supporting the hospitals and care centres with medical assistance."