Friday 17 August 2018

40 missing after cyclone batters Yemen island

Cyclone Mekunu is now heading towards Oman.

Oman Cyclone
Oman Cyclone

By Associated Press Reporters

About 40 people are missing after Cyclone Mekunu battered the island of Socotra, off the coast of Yemen, officials said.

The missing included Yemeni, Indian and Sudanese nationals.

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Satellite image showing the storm heading for the coast of Oman

The officials said more than 230 families had been relocated to shelter in sturdier buildings and other areas, including further inland and in the island’s mountains.

They said floods swept Socotra’s streets, washed away thousands of animals and cut electricity and communication lines.

Some humanitarian aid from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arrived hours after the cyclone receded.

Officials said heavy rain is pummelling Yemen’s eastern-most province of al-Mahra, on the border with Oman.

Cyclone Mekunu will be “extremely severe” when it crashes into the Arabian Peninsula this weekend, meteorologists warned as the eye of the storm headed towards the coast of Oman.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall early on Saturday near Salalah, Oman’s third-largest city and home to 200,000 people near the sultanate’s border with war-ravaged Yemen.

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Heavy rain begins to pound Salalah, Oman

Conditions quickly deteriorated in Salalah after sunrise on Friday, with wind and rain beginning to pick up.

Strong waves smashed into empty tourist beaches. Many holidaymakers fled the storm on Thursday night before Salalah International Airport closed. The Port of Salalah — a key gateway for the country — also closed, its cranes secured against the pounding rain.

As torrential rain poured down, local authorities opened up schools to shelter those whose homes are at risk.

India’s Meteorological Department said the storm in the Arabian Sea was packing maximum sustained winds of 99-106mph, with gusts of up to 112 mph.

Press Association

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