Yemen: Local and international support continue to pour into Hadramout

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By: Aqeel Al-Halali and Yemen Times Staff

SANA'A, Oct. 29 - Up to 180 people have died in Hadramout and Al-Maharah governorates due to the flash floods that took place late last week, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement issued yesterday in Geneva.

Foreign governments, international non governmental and Islamic organizations, Yemenis living abroad and Yemeni private companies continue to assist in emergency relief to the affected areas.

Heavy flooding was caused by a tropical storm and 30 hours of torrential rain that lashed the region on 23 October 2008. To date, at least 180 people have been killed, 20,000 displaced, and 2,000 houses and 85 public buildings, of which five hospitals, have been destroyed or damaged. Many people remain missing with many feared to be buried under mud from collapsed buildings.

The UNHCR said, "These numbers cannot be confirmed as it is still difficult to reach many areas [in the devastated governorates]."

All districts of Hadramout have been affected and the roads linking Hadramout capital, Mukalla which is located by the sea shore, to the local airport and to the governorate of Aden have been damaged. Many other roads have been washed away.

The main valley of Sayoun sustained 75 percent of all damages.

WFP is offering logistical support to other humanitarian organizations, using capacity from its existing food assistance operations in the country and has set up four camps, to the north and west of Sayoun, for internally displaced persons.

Rescue and relief teams continue their operations to search for the missing, shelter the affected provide aid while aviation activities increased at Al-Mukalla and Sayoun international airports which are receiving aid.

Yesterday, a UAE military medical team arrived at Sayoun city to establish a field aid hospital to help treat those in need.

Hussein Al-Haddad, head of the Hadramout Health Office, said that the field hospital would be established in the university campus of Tarim city. He pointed out that the hospital would include a number of operation theaters for surgeons of different specializations to perform operations.

Although there are no reports of outbreaks so far, the government has urged donors to give priority to health and environmental protection needs including prevention of water-borne diseases.