GENEVA - The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports thousands of people hit by a devastating cyclone on the southeastern coast of Yemen earlier this week are in need of emergency aid.
Tropical Cyclone Luban made landfall on Sunday, ushering in three days of heavy rainfall and flooding. Local authorities report three people have lost their lives and more than 100 have been injured.
A United Nations Rapid Response team, which has carried out an initial assessment of the affected area, has found extensive damage to property and livelihoods. It is particularly concerned that continuing rains in Al Mahara, the most affected governorate, could trigger more flooding, further worsening conditions for the survivors.
OCHA spokesman Jens Laerke says people in more than 3,000 households have been made homeless by the cyclone and subsequent flooding. He says it is likely the number of known displaced persons will increase once the Rapid Response team is able to carry out a more comprehensive assessment of the disaster area.
“The flood damage is still preventing road access to many affected people in several coastal districts. And the main bridge that connects Al Maharah governorate and Hadramaut governorate has been seriously damaged. Humanitarian partners are working on finding alternative access roads from Al Mukalla west of the worst affected area,” he said.
Laerke says members of some 550 households are being sheltered temporarily in schools, and a mobile clinic has been set up. He says Saudi Arabia has sent two planes with 440 food baskets and more food is being sent on trucks from across the Saudi border.
The storm touched down far from the frontlines as most of the fighting in Yemen is going on in the heavily populated western part of the country. Yemen’s civil war escalated when Saudi Arabia, which backs the government, began an intensive bombing campaign against the Houthi rebels in March 2015.
The United Nations reports the conflict has killed or wounded more than 16,000 civilians and pushed more than 8 million people to the brink of famine. The U.N. calls Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.