Deadly flash floods in Yemen hamper coronavirus prevention efforts

Deadly flash floods in Yemen hamper coronavirus, cholera prevention efforts
2 min read
26 March, 2020
Shocking footage shows flood waters sweeping down Aden's streets, as many fear the rainy season will have dire consequences for disease prevention efforts.
Severe floods in Aden pictured in April 2019 [Getty]
Two people were killed in Yemen on Wednesday after severe flooding caused serious damage to the capital just as authorities were rolling out prevention measures for the novel coronavirus.

A man and a woman were swept away by the flash floods in Aden. The pair were pulled from the water but died on their way to hospital, according to local newspaper Aden al-Ghad.

Over 75mm of rain fell in 24 hours, according to monitoring site Floodlist. At least five people were also injured, as the floods tore through streets, sweeping away cars, damaging homes and causing a power outage.

Video footage circulating on social media showed barrages of water sweeping through the streets. The floods are also reported to have damaged makeshift sites where many Yemenis have relocated because of the civil war.

The UN’s natural disaster relief body OCHA tweeted on Wednesday: “Today, floods in Aden have caused extensive damage to many homes and properties. Humanitarian partners are rushing to the site to see what needs to be done. They’ll be providing emergency assistance as soon as they can.”

More heavy rain is forecasted as the rainy season gets underway. 

Meanwhile experts warned how dangerous more rainfall could be for the country, which is battling both cholera, which is spread through water, and COVID-19. 

Stagnant water from the flooding could also lead to mosquitos that may carry infectious diseases.

Listen to The New Arab podcast: Paranoia, conflict, and resilience: The Middle East at war with the coronavirus

There were also reports of flooding in the port city of al-Mukalla in Hadramaut Governorate.

Despite there not yet being a case of the novel coronavirus recorded in Yemen, testing in the capital began on Thursday.

WHO official Abd al-Nasser Abu Bakr told CNN Arabic last week he predicted "an explosion in the number of coronavirus cases in Syria and Yemen."

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