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Indians among 10 dead, several missing as Cyclone Mekunu strikes Yemen, Oman

27 May 2018

Tropical Cyclone Mekunu left behind death and destruction after sweeping through waters near Yemen's southern island of Socotra and pounding the island, a local official said Friday.

Skymet Weather said that Cyclone Mekunu, which is yet to make a landfall, is presently in southwest Arabian Sea and is moving far away from the Indian coastline.

A powerful cyclone has struck Oman and killed at least three people, among them a 12-year-old girl, officials have said.

Earlier, the Mekunu wreaked havoc in Yemen´s Socotra island killing at least seven people, as it headed northwest to Saudi Arabia, Oman´s Directorate of Meteorology said.

Salalah has had three-years worth of its typical rainfall in one day
Image Salalah has had three-years worth of its typical rainfall in one day

Winds and rains have subsided a bit in the main Socotra city of Hadibu, but the cleanup was expected to be extensive.

Power has been cut out in some areas of the city and branches and leaves now litter the streets.

Yemeni officials also reported damage in the east of the country along the border with Oman.

He added that Cyclone Mekunu has slowed down and that it is no longer categorized as a hurricane but an orbital storm. Electrical workers began trying to fix lines in the city while police and soldiers in SUVs patrolled the streets.

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An Indian labourer died in a flooded valley, a man was reported drowned when his vehicle was swept away, and a 12-year-old girl was killed when winds blew her into a wall, Oman police said.

India's Meteorological Department said the storm packed maximum sustained winds of 105 - 111mph with gusts of up to 124mph. Portions of Salalah lost electricity as the cyclone made landfall.

The NCM urged residents to "keep following updates, reports and forecasts issued by the NCM and ignore rumours issued by non-professional entities".

The rain caused widespread flooding across the usually arid sultanate, turning normally dry wadis turbid, flooding streets and homes and causing a number of fatalities.

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The storm flooded Socotra's villages and capsized boats, leaving much of the island without access to communications. The cyclone was severe on Friday night.

Oman´s civil aviation meanwhile chose to reopen Salalah Airport on Sunday, which had been closed for the past three days.

The island, listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, has been the focus of a dispute between the UAE and Yemen's internationally recognized government amid that country's war after Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, seized the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

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Indians among 10 dead, several missing as Cyclone Mekunu strikes Yemen, Oman