Second deadly cyclone hits Yemen

Cyclone Megh crosses Socotra Island killing at least one, week after Cyclone Chapala also claimed lives.

Cyclone Megh
Cyclone Megh could potentially bring as much, if not more, rain to Socotra than Cyclone Chapala did a week ago [Courtesy: NASA]

At least one Yemeni was killed as Cyclone Megh, which formed in the Arabian Sea earlier in the week, hit Socotra Island as it travels west towards the mainland.

Heavy winds and rain are currently battering Socotra, Al Jazeera weather presenter, Steff Gaulter, said on Sunday, as the cyclone brings further threats of flooding and landslides in an area usually bereft of rain.

Yemeni Minister of Fishing Fahd Selim Kavieen said that cyclonic storm Megh killed at least one person and caused massive damage when it hit Socotra Island, which lies about 360km off the Yemeni coast.

“Residents of the island are exposed to flooding and severe winds amid heavy rains,” Selim, a native of the island, posted on Facebook. 

Al Jazeera’s Gaulter added: “The storm strengthened significantly over the past 12 hours and now has sustained winds of 165 kilometres per hour, with gusts up to 200 km/h.

“This makes it the equivalent of a major Category 3 hurricane on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale which is used to rate the strength of hurricanes in the waters around the Americas.

“A storm of this strength is likely to cause widespread destruction, and is easily capable of damaging homes and snapping trees.”

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) predicts that Megh will continue its path west, making landfall somewhere between Aden and Mukalla on Tuesday.

Tropical Cyclone Chapala battered Mukalla, Yemen, on Monday, November 2, 2015 [Mohammed Bazahier/AP]
Tropical Cyclone Chapala battered Mukalla, Yemen, on Monday, November 2, 2015 [Mohammed Bazahier/AP]

Gaulter also said that with winds of 200km/h, Megh is the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane and will cause “far worse damage” than Cyclone Chapala.

Chapala killed at least five people and caused widespread damage a week ago as it brushed past Socotra on a similar path from the Arabian Sea.

This, combined with a storm surge and ferocious waves, is likely to cause a major flooding issue.

More than 50,000 people in Yemen, including about 18,000 on Socotra, were displaced because of Cyclone Chapala.

Fishing Minister Kavieen, who hails from Socotra himself, urged the United Nations and neighbouring Oman to “urgently intervene with emergency teams to save residents” on the island “which is now facing a cyclone stronger than Chapala,” AFP reported.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that many will continue to be affected as Megh bears down on the country, and it promised to “address urgent needs and will assess the need for further assistance”.

Source: Al Jazeera