Yemen: Cyclone Chapala Flash Update 2 | 4 November 2015

Situation Report
Originally published



  • Up to 1.1 million people affected by Cyclone Chapala in Socotra Island, Hadramaut and Shabwah governorates.

  • More than 36,000 people are reported displaced and housed in public buildings or with host families.

  • Medical supplies, water and sanitation kits, NFIs and tents, and high energy biscuits have been pre-positioned or are on their way to most affected areas.

  • An airlift is being prepared to reach Socotra Island.

Impact of Cyclone Chapala

Between 1 and 3 November, Yemen was hit by a rare tropical cyclone, the most powerful storm Yemen had seen in decades. Cyclone Chapala has brought hurricane-force winds, torrential rain and huge waves to the south Yemen coastline. By 3 November, some areas had received 610 millimetres (24 inches) of rain, seven times more than the annual average in just 48 hours. Since reaching land, the cyclone has reduced to a tropical storm with a maximum wind speed of 118 km and is expected to further weaken. UNOSAT satellite imagery and precipitation projections estimate that heavy rainfall is expected to continue over the next five days. Shabwah and Hadramaut governorates are forecasted to receive between 20 to 80 millimetres (1-3 inches) of additional precipitation. It is also likely that another weather system will form behind Chapala that may prolong the inclement weather.

While the effects of the cyclone are being felt across large parts of Yemen, hardest hit were the Island of Socotra off the Yemeni coast and the mainland governorates of Shabwah and Hadramaut where the storm made landfall. Coastal areas including Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth largest city, experienced severe flooding and widespread damage. Up to 1.1 million people could be affected across the two governorates. According to the 2015 Yemen Humanitarian Needs Overview, 1.4 million (76 per cent) of the 1.9 million population were already in need of humanitarian assistance in mid 2015.
Socotra Island experienced widespread damage with three deaths and nine injuries reported on the island. More than 400 homes and the port were severely damaged by hurricane-force winds. More than 1,300 people reportedly continue to shelter in the 22 May Hospital – the island’s main hospital – and more than 18,000 people are thought to have been displaced or evacuated from their homes on the island.

On the mainland, initial reports from government officials and UN partners suggest that in Shabwah and Hadramaut governorates, more than 18,000 people are thought to be sheltering in schools, government offices and with host families. In Shabwah Governorate, it has been reported that 170 homes were destroyed and over 600 damaged. The village of Jila’a on Shabwah’s coast was reportedly severely impacted by floods that devastated crops, destroyed houses and killed cattle. Up to 100 houses in the village are thought to have been damaged and 300 families to have fled.
In Hadramaut Governorate, initial reports indicate that flooding has destroyed 44 homes, numerous fishing boats and at least two wells.

In both Hadramaut and Shabwah, among those impacted by Chapala are many families who had previously fled conflict in Aden and Abyan in search of safety. Media and local NGOs report that large areas across Hadramout and Shabwah remain flooded and that displaced people lack drinking water, food and blankets.

Humanitarian action is hindered by insecurity related to the on-going conflict, and because much of the affected area is in territory controlled by Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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