Flash floods in Yemen, triggered by torrential rains, have killed at least 172 people, and damaged homes and UNESCO-listed world heritage sites across the country, officials said.
In the mainly-government-held province of Maarib east of the capital Sanaa, 19 children were among 30 people killed by the floods, a government official said.
In the province’s displaced persons camps, 1,340 families saw their tents and belongings swept away.
In Lahij province in the government-held south, seven people drowned when their vehicle was swept downstream, a government official told AFP news agency.
Another four people were killed on the road connecting the southern provinces of Hadramawt and Shabwa, the official added.
The houses in Yemen’s UNESCO-listed Old City of Sanaa are also collapsing due to heavy rains, as months of floods and storms assail a country already reeling from war, food shortages, and disease.
The distinctive brown and white mud-brick houses of Sanaa’s historic neighbourhoods, which date from before the 11th century, have long been under threat from conflict and neglect.
The destruction has dealt a new blow to a country already in the grips of what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis after years of war between a Saudi-backed government and Iran-allied Houthi rebels.
Five years of war have killed more than 100,000 people, left 80 percent of the population reliant on aid and pushed millions to the brink of famine.
In addition, and on top of the new coronavirus that is believed to be spreading largely undetected, heavy rains spread diseases like cholera, dengue fever and malaria.