Death toll in second cyclone to hit Yemen rises to four

Death toll in second cyclone to hit Yemen rises to four
PHOTO: Reuters

ADEN - The death toll from a second rare and powerful cyclone to batter the Yemeni island of Socotra in just two weeks has risen to four, the country's fisheries minister said.

Two people are still missing and dozens have been hurt by Cyclone Megh, the minister, Fahd Kafayen, said late on Monday. "There is also widespread destruction of residents' homes and fishermen's equipment and on farms and livestock," Kafayen said in a post on his Facebook page.

Megh, which has caused about 5,000 people to flee their homes, is expected to hit Yemen's coast east of Aden as a severe cyclonic storm around 1200 GMT on Tuesday, with sustained winds of 90 km-120 km, the World Meteorological Organization said.

The UN humanitarian coordination office has said more than 230,000 people on the Yemeni mainland will be exposed to high winds and heavy rainfall, with the governorates of Abyan and Al Bayda most at risk.

Cyclone Megh follows Cyclone Chapala, which killed 11 Yemenis on Socotra and the mainland, dumping nearly a decade of average annual rainfall on the impoverished and war-wrecked country in just two days. That cyclone displaced some 18,000 people, about a third of Socotra's population.

Socotra, 380 km off Yemen in the Arabian Sea, is home to 50,000 residents who have long been isolated from the mainland and speak their own language, Socotri.

Aid efforts in Yemen are hampered by a seven-month war between a Shi'ite militia based in the capital Sanaa and forces loyal to the exiled government backed by Gulf Arab states.

More than a third of Socotra's population, 18,000 people, were displaced by Chapala, according to the United Nations.

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