Death toll climbs as Cyclone Megh batters Yemen

Four people are dead, two are still missing and dozens have been injured by Cyclone Megh, Fahd Kafayen, the fisheries minister said.

This November 9, 2015 Nasa satellite photo shows Tropical Cyclone Megh in the Gulf of Aden. Nasa handout/AFP Photo
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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.

Two people are still missing and dozens have been hurt by Cyclone Megh, according to the country’s fisheries minister Fahd Kafayen.

“There is also widespread destruction of residents’ homes and fishermen’s equipment and on farms and livestock,” Mr Kafayen said in a post on his Facebook page on Monday.

Megh, which has caused about 5,000 people to flee their homes, is expected to hit the Yemen mainland, near Aden, as a severe cyclonic storm around 4pm on Tuesday, with sustained winds of 90kph to 120kph, the World Meteorological Organisation 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 war-wrecked country in just two days.

That cyclone displaced some 18,000 people – about a third of Socotra’s population.

Aid efforts in Yemen have been hampered by a seven-month war between the Houthi rebels in the capital Sanaa and forces loyal to the exiled government backed by a Saudi-led coalition.

* Reuters