on Saturday 16 September, 2023

Flooding, lightning strikes kill 8 in war-torn Yemen

Women stand on the pavement of a flooded street during heavy rains in Sanaa, Yemen, March 29, 2023. (Reuters)
by : AFP

Flooding and lightning strikes in Yemen have killed eight civilians, an official and a doctor told AFP on Saturday, underscoring the threat of extreme weather in the war-ravaged country.

The lightning strikes occurred on Friday in the al-Layha and al-Zahra districts of Hodeidah governorate on the Red Sea coast, said Hamza Saied, a doctor at the hospital in al-Layha.

“Six women and a man were killed, and three others were injured,” he said.

The area is controlled by Houthis who seized the capital in 2014, prompting the Arab Coalition to intervene the following year and setting in motion a deadly conflict that has created what the United Nations describes as one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Also on Friday, flooding killed one woman and destroyed dozens of homes in the nearby town of Hais, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

Hais is located in territory controlled by the internationally recognized government based in the southern city of Aden.

Extreme weather has displaced more than 200,000 people in Yemen so far this year, “many of whom had already been displaced multiple times,” the UN Population Fund reported earlier this week.

“Heavy rain is now forecast to affect nearly 2 million displaced people over the coming weeks, threatening lives and livelihoods across multiple communities,” it said.

The nearly decade-long war has left infrastructure in tatters across Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula’s poorest country.

A truce that took effect in April of last year has largely held despite officially expiring last October.

Hopes for a more durable ceasefire received a new boost on Thursday night when a Houthi delegation travelled to Riyadh for discussions.