At the end of March, followed by months of drought, Yemen’s seasonal rains arrived. By this time, the dry, compacted soils had lost much of their ability to absorb water leading to widespread flash floods. Rivers soon burst their banks, inundating the streets in urban areas and sweeping away trees and cars.
The floods lefts thousands of families destitute with no assets or income to support their recovery. ACTED was the first agency to provide support to displaced families living in 55 settlements affected by the flooding.
The regions of Aden and Al Dhale’e are home to 55 IDP settlements, in all of which ACTED has played a key role in managing since 2019. The majority of the 3,000 families living in these settlements are women with their children for whom ACTED is responsible for ensuring humane living conditions that include access to basic services and commodities.
Following the initial floods, ACTED visited a number of the settlements to assess the level of damage to shelters and other assets. It was clear that hundreds of families had lost their shelters and food stocks as a result of the rain water. Latrines were overflowing, creating significant hygiene and sanitation risks, especially for young children and vulnerable adults.
ACTED quickly coordinated with UNHCR and WFP for the distribution of additional soap and buckets, cleaning material for the shelters and food commodities such as flour and rice that the families had lost. ACTED also coordinated with WASH partners to travel to the flooded sites, pump the water from the ground and empty flooded latrine pits in order to decrease the sanitation risks for the population.
Coordination with other actors led to the realization that responders lacked the necessary quantity of shelter materials due to oversight vis-a-vis the prepositioning of such key items to allow for an immediate response in the case of a sudden onset crisis such as flooding. ACTED therefore commenced a distribution of shelter materials to around 200 households to repair their homes that had been destroyed or damaged by the rains.
Heavy rains continue are expected to continue in Aden and Al Dhalee until the end of July. The assistance provided by ACTED and the other humanitarian actors have provided some relief to the displaced families living in informal settlements and equipped them to cope with the weather and difficult living conditions for the months to come.
ACTED’s strategy in Yemen is based on 3 pillars: ADAPT, RECOVER and THRIVE. Under ADAPT, ACTED first understands the situation using local knowledge, then coordinates a response with local authorities, humanitarian partners and clusters, before responding to the remaining needs of displacement-affected populations, IDPs and host communities alike.
This article relates to activities which are part of a consortium project implemented with Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and the financial support of the European Commission (ECHO).