At least 18 dead in Yemen floods
Heavy rains have swept through the southeastern Yemeni province of Hadramaut, causing floods and leaving at least 18 people dead. Initial reports received by a crisis team set up to coordinate rescue efforts put the death toll at seven in Hadramaut capital, al-Mukalla, while 11 more died elsewhere in the province.
A cell official said the town of Shibam, located some 450 kilometers northeast of al-Mukalla, was totally cut off from the neighboring towns. AFP quoted another local official who had said dozens of people were missing in the floods caused by some 30 hours of torrential rains that have lashed the region since Thursday.
A member of the crisis committee in al-Mukalla added that at least 340 houses have been destroyed in Tarim, al-Kotn and Shibam districts, all in Hadramaut. Local authorities said the flooding has seriously damaged roads and disrupted power and water distribution networks.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has traveled to the disaster-stricken province to observe rescue operations led by a government commission he has charged with handling the effort. Meanwhile, Hadramout governor Salem Ahmed al-Khanbashi declared that the province is a "disaster area."