While the number of officially confirmed COVID-19 cases increased sharply, devastating rains and flooding compounded Yemen’s dire economic and humanitarian conditions. Food security continues to deteriorate with the practical end of Saudi Arabia’s food import facility, recent floods, infestation of swarming locusts, and rising food prices. Increasing fragmentation of national capacity further complicates management of socio-economic conditions.
In April Yemen was hit by once-in-a-generation floods, which claimed several lives and injured dozens.
Torrential rains and flooding swept across Yemen’s northern governorates (Marib, Sana’a) in mid-April. A week later, intense rains reached the country’s southern parts (Aden, Lahj, Abyan, Taizz, Al Dhale’e,
Shabwah, Hadramaut), which had hardly recovered from the previous flooding at end-March.
Shelters for internally displaced people (IDP) were particularly hit hard with a loss of food stocks. Crops and livelihoods were washed away, and irrigation systems were destroyed, with implications for household income and agricultural production in 2020. In Aden, the absence of effective drainage system and stormwater management contributed to the severity of flooding. Rainwater ran off roads and bridges without control, ravaged houses and buildings, especially those that were built randomly near the flood ducts and knocked down electricity and other services. Problems with weak drainage system were exacerbated by poor waste management, which allowed clogged sewage and drainage systems to overflow. Water supplies were contaminated as a result, while much of floodwaters stagnated in low areas, providing an ideal condition for infectious diseases to spread. In flood events, rapid provision of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services is key to limiting the outbreak and spread of diseases.
Provision of water for handwashing, regular maintenance ofshared sanitation facilities,safe management of septage and wastewater, and increased messaging on handwashing and safe sanitation practices are among these measures to prevent the spread of diseases.
Salary disbursements by the Government in Aden have stagnated in recent months. Sources suggest that since January 2020, salary payments to military and security personnel in the areas under the Government’s control (“the south”) suffered frequent delays and limited geographical coverage. 2 Disbursements of January 2020 salaries to the special security forces in Aden and Abyan were confirmed only in early April. Delays in salary disbursements were not reported in governorates with local revenue sources, (Hadramout and Marib). There are no reports to confirm delays or disruptions of monthly payments to civil servants in central ministries in Aden, including the revenue authorities. The Government in Aden blamed the Southern Transitional Council (STC) for salary payment delays.