Last Updated: Monday, 24 November 2014, 07:13 GMT

Yemen: About 2,000 people displaced by drought in southern mountains

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 2 September 2008
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Yemen: About 2,000 people displaced by drought in southern mountains, 2 September 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/48bf8a3e1e.html [accessed 24 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

SANAA, 2 September 2008 (IRIN) - Hundreds of families (totalling about 2,000 people) in the southern governorate of Abyan have begun to leave their homes due to severe drought in their mountain villages, a senior official has said.

Sirar District, a mountainous area in Abyan, has been particularly badly affected since May.

Al-Khader Mohammed Saleh, director-general of Sirar District, told IRIN that over 300 families had left their villages over the past week as a result of the drought.

"People could not stand the water shortages and so they decided to leave their homes. More and more people are leaving their villages for the same reason. The number of displaced is doubling," he said.

He said the displaced families had moved to areas like al-Huson and Jaar in the same governorate.

"A lot of them are living in tents. Some have rented houses. They are facing very difficult conditions," he said.

According to the official, Sirar villages are arid, barren and mountainous. Any rain that does fall quickly runs off down the steep valley sides, as there are no dams in the area to harvest rainwater.

"As such, the rains are of no use when they fall in the area. Springs and water wells have gone dry," he said.

Saleh said some people had installed small concrete tanks on their houses to harvest rainwater, but these had remained dry because of the lack of rain. He said the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) had built and repaired a number of concrete tanks in Sirar District.

Plea for help

The drought has caused damage to the livestock, beehives and farms on which local people are heavily dependent for their livelihoods.

"They live in miserable conditions with no source of income. We call on aid agencies to assist them," Saleh said.

Saleh said the displaced families had not received any relief assistance from any local or international non-governmental organisations. "They will overburden local services if the number of displaced families increases," he warned, adding that schools in the drought-hit area are closing as villages are abandoned.

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