A tropical cyclone slammed Yemen’s central coast earlier this week with 85 mph sustained winds.
This is the first time in recorded history that a cyclone of this magnitude has hit Yemen, a nation already suffering after months of intense conflict.
The country only receives about four inches of rain each year — but it’s estimated that Cyclone Chapala has already dumped at least eight inches of rain, with more to come.
The intense flooding that followed the initial rainfall has affected as many as 1.1 million people and displaced more than 40,000.
Our team in Yemen is preparing to distribute food baskets and hygiene kits to families displaced by the storm. We’ll work with local partners to get these supplies to the most vulnerable people and also assess the cyclone’s damage.
These assessments will help us identify any unaddressed emergency needs and ensure that those needs are met quickly.
Cyclone Chapala update
The storm made landfall near the city of Mukalla, which is currently under al Qaeda control. Because of the ongoing Yemen war, accurate information has been slow to come out of the region.
Many communities can’t be accessed after the storm due to roads and bridges that were blocked by flooding.
This is yet another tough blow for Yemen, which has been in the grips of a humanitarian crisis for much of the year.
In March 2015, violent clashes between government and non-government forces erupted, then fueling ongoing warfare that has forced 2 million people to flee their homes. The widespread fighting across the country has killed thousands of civilians.
Now, it’s estimated that more than 20 million people — 80-percent of the population — are in urgent need of food, clean water, medical care and other assistance.
Food prices have skyrocketed since fighting escalated earlier in the year, and frequent fuel shortages have limited movement and the distribution of humanitarian aid.
Mercy Corps’ work
Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East — it imports 90-percent of its food supply annually. Even before the current crisis, more than half the country’s population was living in poverty.
Mercy Corps has worked in Yemen since 2010. The humanitarian crisis in Yemen has escalated to a catastrophic level, and accessing civilians in need is tremendously challenging. More about our work in Yemen ▸
We have more than 100 staff members in Yemen, many of whom have been working through difficult conditions to provide food, water and supplies to people caught in the crossfire of conflict. READ: Staff speak out about work in a conflict zone ▸
Despite the challenges, we remain committed to helping the Yemeni people get the essential supplies they need to survive. Our operations have been severely hampered by the ongoing clashes and airstrikes, but we continue our work where it’s safe to do so.
How you can help
- Donate today. Every single contribution helps us respond quickly and effectively to emergencies around the world. Your gift helps provide a critical lifeline to many people during their most desperate time of need.