Yemen: Tropical cyclones compound humanitarian suffering

Joint statement by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Yemeni Red Crescent and the ICRC

Two successive tropical cyclones hit Yemen’s southern coastal areas in November, heightening misery and worsening an already dire humanitarian situation. According to reports and information collected by the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS), 26 people were killed, dozens injured and up to 55,000 affected. Livelihoods, including crops and livestock, was also destroyed.

Joul Al-Sheikh, Shabwah province. Yemeni Red Crescent volunteers distribute assisstance to people affected by Cyclone Chapala

“The landfall of two tropical cyclones in Yemen this month, has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation. The coping mechanisms of people in Yemen were long exhausted following eight months of airstrikes and ground fighting,” said Antoine Grand, head of delegation for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Yemen.

Socotra Island, Shabwa, Hadramawt and Abyan in southeastern Yemen were primarily affected. “In the wake of the cyclones, assessing and responding to the humanitarian needs proved to be extremely difficult in light of damaged telecommunication networks as well as flooding and inaccessibility of roads,” said Mr Fuad Al-Makhazy, Secretary General of Yemen Red Crescent Society.

Food, water, basic household items, mosquito nets, baby milk as well as clothing are some of the most urgent needs identified. To help meet these needs and to enable those who have lost their homes to better cope, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement has jointly supported the National Society’s response. The ICRC, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and a number of other National Societies including German Red Cross and French Red Cross supported the YRCS which in turn shouldered the larger part of the response on the ground.

“The joint approach of the Movement to this emergency has enabled Yemen Red Crescent Society to quickly meet the real needs of people on the ground following both cyclone Meg and Chapala through their network of branches. Recovery for those affected, however, will remain a challenge,” said Pitambar Aryal, acting country representative for the IFRC in Yemen

The following provides a snapshot of YRCS response in the wake of the cyclones:

  • 4,200 people in Hadrawmawt and Shabwa were assisted with food;
  • 250 people received cooked meals in Socotra immediately after they were displaced;
  • 4,200 persons in Shabwa and Hadramawt were provided with mattresses, blankets and jerry cans;
  • 6,000 people were provided with water purification material through the local water and sanitation corporation in Mukallah to ensure the provision of drinking water for a full month;
  • 240 tarpaulins were provided to the affected population in Socotra Island to cover the roofs of their tents and damaged roofs;

In addition, 10 water tanks are currently on their way to various public facilities hosting displaced people in Mukalla, Hadramawt.

Humanitarian activities relating to the conflict in Yemen have continued in parallel to these disasters. The wider conflict in Yemen continues to play havoc with people’s lives, causing death and destruction and large scale humanitarian needs every day.

For further information, please contact:

 In Sana’a:

Muhammad Ghazi, communicational focal point, Yemen Red Crescent Society, E-mail:  Mob: +967 73 975 5666

Rima Kamal, communication coordinator, ICRC, Yemen, E-mail: ¦ Twitter: @rimaakamal Mob: +967 73 607 1967

Pitambar Aryal, country representative (acting), IFRC, E-mail:  Mob: +967 73 963 3551

In Beirut:

Stephen Ryan, communication coordinator – Middle East and North Africa, IFRC, E-mail:  Twitter: @stiofanoriain Mob: + 961 71 802 779

Saleh Dabbakeh, regional communication coordinator – Middle East and North Africa, ICRC, E-mail:  Mob: + 961 79 303 587

In Geneva:

Dibeh Fakhr, public relations officer, ICRC, E-mail: Mob: +41 79 447 37 26

 Reeni Amin Chua, senior officer, public positioning and strategy, IFRC, E-mail: Twitter: @reeniac Mob: +41 79 708 6273