Heavy rain that has been ongoing since late April has caused severe flash flooding across southwestern Yemen, causing buildings to collapse and leaving at least 13 dead across the region. More thunderstorms in the coming days can lead to additional flooding, AccuWeather forecasters say.
The hardest-hit areas were across Sanaa, Ibb, Shabwa and Hodeida provinces in southwestern Yemen, officials told The Associated Press. This is also where the fatalities occurred from the weekend into early this week as daily rounds of thunderstorms struck the region.
"Rounds of slow-moving thunderstorms regularly develop across southwestern Yemen this time of year," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls.
Moisture from the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden can lead to a setup that is ripe for thunderstorms containing heavy rainfall, Nicholls explained.
"Flooding in Yemen is not uncommon," Nicholls added. "There have been several significant flood events going back to 2013. Some are cyclone related, but many are due to thunderstorms like [Yemen] just experienced."
As the rain falls across the rugged terrain, normally dry streams can rapidly fill with rushing water.
One of the hard-hit areas was Tarim, a historic city in the south-central part of the country sitting in the Hadhramaut Valley. Many buildings collapsed in the city amid the flooding rainfall.
As of May 4, initial reports indicate that about 3,730 families, or 22,380 people, have been affected by the heavy rain and flooding, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
Reports say that shelters for families have been destroyed and roads across the area were blocked. The number of impacted individuals could be higher, as many areas remain inaccessible.
The OCHA said that humanitarian partners are "now operationalizing the nationwide Flood Preparedness Plan and are mobilizing to step up flood response" for the country. This includes preparing to deliver food for those who have lost their rations or food supply amid the floods.
Despite the lingering chances for rain early week, the storms are expected to turn less potent.
The lighter rains will provide a chance to begin cleanup and recovery efforts across the region.
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