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17 killed in Yemen floods: health official

Seventeen people, including eight children, have been killed in flash floods and by lightning in Yemen’s northern Marib region, health authorities said Tuesday.

The fierce storms have added to the woes of the war-torn country, which the UN has described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Five years of conflict has left swathes of the country in ruins.

“Sixteen people drowned and another person was killed after being struck by lightning,” local health authorities said in a statement.

Recent storms have hit other provinces, including the capital Sanaa, Amran, Hodeida, Taez, Saada and Hadramaut.

Dozens of homes and hundreds of tents for the displaced have been destroyed, according to authorities.

Meanwhile, the official Saba news agency reported that floodwaters swelling the reservoir of the Marib dam, built in 1986, raised concerns it might collapse.

It said the government had called for “quick solutions to face potential dangers over the continuous flooding of the Marib dam”.

The Arab world’s poorest country also faces the coronavirus pandemic, which its decrepit health system is ill-equipped to handle.

Yemen has officially recorded more than 1,700 cases of the virus, including 499 deaths. However, many fear the real toll is far higher.

An estimated 24 million Yemenis — more than 80 percent of the population — are dependent on aid for survival, according to the UN.