Powerful cyclone strikes Oman, Yemen; 5 dead, 30 missing

27 May, 2018, 03:33 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • Cyclone tears through Yemeni island Socotra

Winds of up to 170 km per hour have been reported and thousands of residents near coastal areas have been moved to shelters.

Seventeen people are now missing on Socotra Island in the Arabian Sea, where the cyclone has already hit.

According to the Khaleej Times, Oman's Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) has issued a release indicating that "due to the severity of the weather conditions, Salalah International Airport will be closed for 24 hours", which started from 12 am on Friday. An extremely severe cyclone is the penultimate class in IMD's protocol of assessing storms in terms of strength and intensity, topped off by a super cyclone.

Omani forecasters warned Salalah and the surrounding area would get at least 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) of rain, over twice the amount of rain this city typically gets in a year.

The dead from Cyclone Mekunu were reportedly five Yemenis and two Indian nationals, while the missing included Yemenis, Indians and Sudanese.

Four of the missing were crew on board a boat that sunk when the storm accompanied by strong winds and heavy rain hit the island in the Arabian Sea, Fisheries Resources Minister Fahad Kafin told AFP. This is the outlook for the last full day of the cyclone's active life over the waters, after it blasted into the island feature of Socotra, off South Yemen, last night and picked up speed.

Flash floods engulfed Socotra streets, cutting electricity and communication lines, they said.


The Yemeni high relief agency met with global humanitarian organisations in Aden late Thursday to discuss the situation, the country's Saba news agency reported.

A auto makes its way through standing water on a road in Salalah, Oman.

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

Capt Tarek al-Shanfari of Royal Oman Police said the 12-year-old girl had been hit in the head by a door torn off by the wind.

Authorities called on humanitarian organisations and the Saudi-led military coalition that is battling Huthi rebels in the country to help, according to state-run news agency Saba.

The UAE forces left Socotra under the agreement between Abu Dhabi and Saudi-backed former Yemeni government, Turkey's official Anadolu news agency said.

Socotra has a unique ecosystem and is home to plants, snails and reptiles that can be found nowhere else.

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