IOM Supports over 34,000 who Lost Everything in Deadly Marib Floods and Storms

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Marib – Storms have ravaged Marib city and surrounding areas since July and, by early August, several people had tragically lost their lives as a result of flash floods and lightening. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) quickly kickstarted a response for the thousands of displaced people affected by the extreme weather. From July to mid-August, IOM reached more than 34,000 people with shelter materials and emergency relief items, flood prevention measures, access to clean water, health services and protection support.

Marib governorate hosts some of the highest numbers of displaced people in Yemen and is home to the largest displacement site, Al Jufainah Camp.

“I made a shelter from leaves, tree branches and other pieces of wood—our conditions were very bad but at least it provided us some cover,” said Abdulwahab, a father of two children, who was displaced by the conflict from his home some years ago within the same district, Sirwah, where he is currently sheltering.

When a storm hits Marib, the displaced community are usually among the worst affected. In this recent bout of bad weather, at least 6,000 makeshift shelters in 30 informal settlements were seriously damaged or completely washed away.

Abdulwahab described the impact of the storms on his family’s shelter:

“On the day of Eid Al-Adha, torrential rains coupled with flooding destroyed my shelter and hundreds of others in our displacement site. As a result, we were once again homeless and this time it was more difficult than before. We slept in the open-air until IOM intervened and provided us with shelter materials, which helped relieve our suffering a bit.”

IOM established an office in Marib in 2019 and was one of the first international organizations with a permanent presence. Since that time, the Organization has been responding to the humanitarian needs of vulnerable people in the governorate, while also supporting social and economic development.

In response to the recent storms and floods, IOM has provided emergency health services, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support, displacement camp management support, shelter and relief items, and protection services.

“Families have lost everything and as a humanitarian organization, it is our duty to respond quickly and provide whatever support we can, effectively,” said Tareq Al-Shadadi, who is a member of IOM’s shelter team in Marib. “It is important that families are aware of locations at high risk of flooding so that they can avoid building their shelters in such areas,” he added.

IOM distributed shelter and relief items to over 420 families in three displacement sites, while providing access to clean water for 600 families in two sites affected by the floods. The Organization also carried out protection assessments in five displacement sites.

To reduce risks for people living in displacement sites, IOM constructed embankments to stop flooding two sites in Marib city, including Al Jufainah Camp, and one in Marib Al Wadi, and the construction of the same in other sites in Marib Al Wadi and Sirwah is ongoing.

IOM deployed a mobile health clinic, which are staffed by Marib Governorate Health Office (GHO) health workers, to Sirwah to provide health services in displacement sites affected by the storms in that district, including consultation, primary health care, medicines, referral to further care and information on COVID-19. A second mobile clinic has been covering displacement sites in Marib city and Marib Al Wadi districts. Both mobile clinics have assisted around 200 people affected by the bad weather.  

IOM’s flood and storm response in Marib is made possible through the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), the State of Kuwait, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), the Government of Japan and the Yemen Humanitarian Fund (YHF).

For more information, please contact IOM Yemen: