Two Indians killed, 8 missing as cyclone Mekunu devastates Yemen's Socotra

Posted May 27, 2018

Thousands of residents near the coastal areas in the two provinces have been evacuated to safer shelters as winds up to of 170 kilometres (105 miles) per hour and torrential rainfall lashed the coastal areas, officials said.

Cyclone Mekunu neared the Arabian Peninsula on Friday as its outer bands dumped heavy rain and bent palm trees in Oman, a sign of the approaching storm's power after earlier thrashing the Yemeni island of Socotra. Oman authorities announced that the airport will remain closed through Saturday, Reuters reported.

A new tropical storm has developed in the southwest Arabian Sea where it intensified yesterday evening into Cyclone Mekunu. Portions of Salalah lost electricity as the cyclone made landfall.

Fisheries minister Fahad Kafin told AFP news agency the bodies of five Yemenis and two Indians had been recovered.

While the storm has been downgraded, officials said it was still pummelling the country with heavy rain and high winds.

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The meeting also discussed measures to provide aid to residents of three provinces in southeast Yemen expected to be hit by the cyclone.

The storm flooded Socotra's villages and capsized boats, leaving much of the island without access to communications.

The Yemeni high relief agency met with worldwide humanitarian organisations in Aden late Thursday to discuss the situation, the country's Saba news agency reported. Standing water covered roads and caused at least one auto to hydroplane and flip over.

In Salalah, rains had nearly stopped on Saturday, an AFP photographer said, but many streets were still under water and nearby valleys were flooded.

The girl died after strong winds swept her against a wall, police say.

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He called on global relief organisations and the Saudi-led worldwide coalition battling the Houthi rebels in Yemen to come to the island's aid. The Port of Salalah - a key gateway for the country - also closed, its cranes secured against the pounding rain.

Meanwhile, refuting rumours on social media, a senior official from the PACA, has said that it is unlikely that there will be a second cyclone following Mekunu.

Socotra has a unique ecosystem and is home to rare species of plants, land snail and reptile species that can be found nowhere else around the planet.

An IMD image from 24 May showing cyclonic storm Mekunu.

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