Yemen: Food security assessment for the flood-affected populations in Hadramout and Al-Mahra governorates

Originally published


1 - Executive Summary

1.1 Background

From October 20-25 2008, widespread flooding swept over eastern Yemen after a Tropical Storm (Level Three) drenched the country with heavy rains from October 23-25, 2008. Two eastern provinces - Hadramout and Al-Mahra - were most heavily affected and declared disaster areas by the Yemeni Government. Flash floods and surging waters killed 80 persons and forced an additional 20,000 to 25,000 people into displacement. Preliminary estimates reported at least 3,300 predominantly mud-brick houses had been totally destroyed or damaged beyond repair, while hundreds of others left uninhabitable. In addition to houses, several health facilities and an estimated 170 schools were damaged or destroyed. Early government estimates suggest as many as 700,000 people could have been affected by the floods - including severe damage to livelihoods as surging water caused extensive damage to local agriculture, fishing and honey production. More than 40,000 acres of cultivated soil was eroded - destroying the year's harvest - as well as some 600,000 palm trees. Damage to infrastructure and water/sanitation facilities was extensive.

1.2 Objective

From 25 Nov. to 7 Dec 2008 a WFP team travelled to the area asses the food security situation of the affected population in the two governorates and to determine which groups had been left most vulnerable.

1.3 Methodology

The two affected governorates were divided into agro-ecological zones then broken down by livelihood profile. The affected governorates consist of 3 ecological zones out of 5 zones in Yemen, including southern coastal areas, middle plateau (wadi/valley) areas, and The Empty Quarter (or desert) which stretches into Saudi Arabia. Due to desert's scarce nomadic population, the assessment focused only on the two ecological zones which had reported damages: the coastal areas and the valleys.

The survey data was collected through household questionnaires, focus group discussions and key informant data.

1.4 Food Security Situation

Food availability in the country is not a concern. In the immediate aftermath of the floods access to food was also not found to be a major issue particularly in more accessible areas due to the provision of food (cooked and dry) by a variety of local NGOs, international organizations, and private donors. This outpouring of assistance helped the affected populations maintain good food consumption scores.

However, food consumption provided through assistance was removed and the purchasing power of the affected populations alone was considered, it was found that in fact food consumption was poor among 64% of affected households. These lower scores are more likely an accurate reflection of the current levels of food consumption, since then the provision of cooked meals has ceased and local NGOs have shifted towards providing non-food assistance.

1.5 Affected Populations

The survey found that 15,976 households (an estimated 111,832 persons) had been affected by the floods. Findings also suggested that those left most vulnerable as a result were those whose homes had been completely destroyed and who had lost other agriculture or fishing assets, comprising of 9,577 households of the overall number.

Category Number of Households
Home completely destroyed
Partial damage to home
Loss to agriculture assets
Loss to fishing assets
Loss to beekeeping assets

If one takes into account the percentage of food consumption scores, this suggests that, of the 9,577 households most affected, 64% would have poor food consumption, meaning 6,129 households- or 42,905 individuals. WFP currently assist 25,000 persons, therefore an additional 17,905 families are in need of assistance.