Yemen: Flash Floods DREF Operation No. MDRYE002

Situation Report
Originally published
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GLIDE No. FL-2008-000201-YEM

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the International Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of National Societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 219,800 (USD 191,870 or EUR 149,985) has been allocated from the International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the Yemen Red Crescent Society (Yemen RC) in delivering immediate assistance to some 1,750 beneficiaries. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: The operation is planned to enable the Yemen RC to ensure initial humanitarian response to the most vulnerable among the flood victims in Hadramaut. The DREF support will focus on distribution of basic food and non-food relief items including tents, blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets; as well as some aspects of health including psycho-social support. In view of the scale of the disaster and the mid and long-term humanitarian needs, an Emergency Appeal for this operation is possible to follow.

This operation is expected to be implemented over three months, and will therefore be completed by the end of January 2009; a Final Report will be made available three months after the end of the operation (by May 2009).

The situation

On 24 October, heavy rains that had continued for the last three days in south eastern and south western Yemen resulted in flash floods throughout Hadramaut (consisting of about 30 districts) and Maharah governorates. The capital of Hadramaut - Mukalla city which is located by the sea shore - and a main valley was mostly affected. The floods in these two governorates resulted in the death of more than 50 people and up to 20,000 are estimated to be displaced. The death toll is expected to rise as many are reportedly missing. There are also fears that most of the missing people may be buried under their houses built from mud bricks and demolished by the floods.

In Hadramaut alone, about 500 houses were totally destroyed in the districts of Tarim, Sah, Shibam, Qatun and Wadi Al-Yeme. Roads, communication facilities, power and water distribution networks were disrupted as well. About 60 per cent of the electricity has been cut off in Hadramaut. As a result, it was not possible for the Yemen RC and other aid organizations to reach the victims immediately. The government declared the governorate a disaster area and responded fast to rescue the victims. Army helicopters were deployed to the area to rescue thousands of people, but wind and high level of water hampered rescue efforts.

Coordination and partnerships

The Yemen RC is working as a member of the National Emergency Task Force established by the government to monitor the situation and coordinate the response. The task force consists of different ministries.

In addition, the secretary general of the National Society convenes operational emergency meetings every day with different partners working with the Yemen RC including the International Federation, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Danish Red Cross, French Red Cross, and United Arab Emirates Red Crescent. Representatives from Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) also participated in some of the meetings. The secretary general updates participants about the situation based on the information received from the branches in the field and the task force meetings. It was agreed that the Yemen RC, together with the International Federation, should take the lead to assess the situation and coordinate the necessary response.