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Cablegate: Ambassador Declares Disaster in Hadramout and Mahra

VZCZCXYZ0006
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHYN #1755 3011552
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 271552Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANAA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0537
INFO RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 0262
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 0278
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0283
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0116
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0051
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SANAA 001755

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT for DCHA/OFDA:RANDREW, NEA/ARP:AMACDONALD, and PRM
BRUSSELS for USEC
ROME pass FODAG
GENEVA for USAID and RMA
BANGKOK for OFDA Regional Advisor

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID YM
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR DECLARES DISASTER IN HADRAMOUT AND MAHRA

1. Summary and Action Request: Ambassador Seche declares a
humanitarian disaster in the Hadramout and Mahra governorates of
eastern Yemen following a tropical storm and related flash flooding
that occurred between October 23 and October 25. The Ambassador
requests that DCHA/OFDA immediately commit USD 50,000 to pay for
transport of emergency nutritional support to the region. The funds
will be used by the World Food Program. End summary.

2. Background: on October 23 a tropical storm designated Tropical
Storm Three struck Hadramout and Mahra in Eastern Yemen. The
remoteness of some of the affected areas and impassible roads have
hindered needs assessment and complete information on the scope of
the damage is still not available. The ROYG's Crisis Center
informed the donor community on October 27 that there are 180 dead,
circa 40 missing, 10,000 internally displaced persons and 2,000
homes destroyed. Oxfam estimates that between 700 and 1000 homes
have been destroyed in the city of Seyoun alone. Deputy Prime
Minister al-Arhabi appealed to the donor community for assistance in
the form of: foodstuffs, tents, water purification, temporary
bridges, pumping equipment, medicine, and other items. Most homes
and other buildings in outlying areas are constructed of mud and so
are particularly vulnerable to damage from flooding. Medecins Sand
Frontieres is concerned about water-borne diseases and notes that
there were known cases of cholera in the region prior to the
flooding.

3. Hadramout and Mahra have a combined total population of 1.17
million. Numerous roads in the region are impassible and electricity
and telephone service are spotty at best. Limited access and
communication with the affected areas continues to hamper full
assessments and relief operations. There are currently two rapid
assessment teams in the region, one from the United Nations, and one
from the Yemeni government. It is likely that information will
continue to come in over the next few days.

4. Numerous private individuals and regional governments have
pledged support but as of October 27 only the ROYG-led efforts are
actually providing assistance on the ground. Military sources
report the ROYG is flying in supplies to the region with fixed wing
aircraft. The World Food Program is transporting 16 tons of food to
the region and has asked for financial assistance from the embassy.
The embassy is working with CENTCOM to coordinate DoD-funded,
in-kind assistance.

5. Mission will keep addressees updated as additional information
becomes available.

SECHE

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