Thousands flee as Cyclone Chapala batters Yemen

Thousands fleeing from city of Yemen for shelter due to rare tropical cyclone which had great damage on city

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Cyclone Chapala made an extremely rare landfall and triggered massive rainfall flood

More than three thousand families in Yemen have been internally displaced after Cyclone Chapala pounded the country’s southern Hadhramaut province late Monday, according to a Yemeni emergency official.

The official, who preferred anonymity, told Anadolu Agency that numerous families in the province had to flee their homes due to severe winds and heavy rainfall caused by the cyclone.

Hadhramaut’s coastal areas, he added, had suffered serious flooding after the cyclone caused the sea level to rise by between four and eight metres.

According to preliminary assessments, 15 homes were damaged in the city of Mukalla, Hadhramaut’s provincial capital, which also suffered power outages in several areas.

Even before the arrival of Cyclone Chapala, Yemen had stood on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

On Monday, the World Food Programme (WFP) warned that 10 out of Yemen's 22 governorates were “facing food insecurity at the emergency level”, which, the organization went on to warn, was considered “one step below famine”.

According to UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, Yemen has one of the world’s highest malnutrition rates among children.

Dujarric added that one in five people in Yemen suffered severe food insecurity and were in dire need of food assistance.

Regarding Yemen’s ongoing military conflict, Dujarric asserted that "airstrikes and ground conflicts across the country have had major implications for the WFP’s ability to deliver food”.

“Road access to Taiz from Sanaa has been particularly affected by insecurity and conflict in the [Hadhramaut] governorate,” he said.

Dujarric added, “Yet despite the colossal challenges, the WFP has managed to reach an average of one million people [in Yemen] each month since the conflict started.”

Fractious Yemen has remained in turmoil since September of last year, when Shia Houthi militants overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country.

In March, Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and restoring the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Since Riyadh launched its air campaign, at least 2,615 Yemeni civilians have been killed and more than 5,000 injured, while the number of internally displaced people in the country has risen to some 2.3 million, according to UN figures.