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|Heavy Rains Kill 61 and Destroy 1,800 Homes Thousands Still Without Shelter|
Hakim Almasmari ( YEMEN POST
Article Date: October 27, 2008
At least 61 people have been confirmed dead and another 48 missing in one of the worst rainstorms the country has faced in more than a decade. Nearly all Yemeni provinces have seen heavy rains this week; however, Hadramout and Mahra were the hardest hit.
The rain storms, which started late Thursday and continued on for more than 30 hours continuously in some governorates has left more than 22,000 families without shelter. The government has been desperately trying to send immediate aid to the worst hit areas; however, governmental help has not been completely successful.
Army personals started evacuating residents who were at great risk of drowning to safer areas and some were taken to nearby schools. Unfortunately, the schools that were used to shelter locals could only accommodate 10 percent of those in dire need for help. "Everything is chaos here in Hadramout. Houses have completely been destroyed, people have gone missing, and the government has not been able to reach everyone," said Saleh Ba-Marhoom, a local from Hadramout.
Floods have also destroyed roads, agricultural lands and property. They also caused shortage of water and electricity supply, as electricity was completely cut off on the entire governorate of Hadramout for over 20 hours. Access to some areas has reportedly been cut due to the floods, making it possible that the casualty rate will increase.
Roughly 40,000 people have been directly affected in Hadramout and Mahra according to Yemen Post correspondents in both governorates, and severe damages were reported in both rural and urban areas alike.
Meanwhile, more than 1800 houses in Hadramout and Mahra were completely destroyed, and local authorities in Hadramout announced a state of emergency in the afflicted areas.
Seeking to supervise and regulate the relief aids and alleviate the suffering of locals, the Yemeni president arrived to Al-Mukalla last Friday and ordered prompt relief aids to the damaged areas and people.
A large number of charitable organizations were quick to send relief aid to the afflicted areas in Hadramout Valley and Mahrah.
Similarly, President of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan ordered emergency relief assistances to people affected by the floods.
The recently-formed emergency operation centers issued travel warnings, advising locals and visitors against coming near the affected areas. Similar warnings were announced advising residents of costal and mountainous governorates to exercise utmost caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.
There have been heavy rains nationwide during the last few days and these rains were associated with strong winds causing floods, mudslides blockage of highways and roads.
This year, dozens of people have died as a result of bad weather conditions the country witnessed.
Locals from the affected areas criticized the government and mentioned that its response was slow, especially when some people have been reported to be favored over others.