5 dead, 30 missing from powerful cyclone

28 May, 2018, 14:13 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Debris litter a beach after Cyclone Mekunu hits Salalah Oman yesterday. – AP

The death toll from a cyclone that battered southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra has reached 11, while eight sailors are still missing, authorities said on Sunday.

Socotra Governor Ramzy Mahrous said one ship sank and two others ran aground in the storm, initially saying authorities believed 17 people were missing and presumed dead.

Yemen's fisheries minister Fahad Kafin said that of those missing, 14 were Indian sailors who were at the island's port when the cyclone struck.

Portions of Salalah, Oman's third-largest city, lost electricity as the cyclone made landfall.

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

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Branches and leaves littered the streets. The city is partially de-energized electrical trying to fix power lines.

The Yemeni high relief agency met with worldwide humanitarian organizations in Aden late Thursday to discuss the situation, the country's Saba news agency reported. Several underpasses became standing lakes. The Times of Oman reported that a number of landslides were also triggered and dozens of people had to be rescued from vehicles trapped in the floodwaters and at least 27 had to be rescued from flooded homes. PACA had announced the closure of Salalah International Airport on Friday for 24 hours can be extended, as a result of Mekunu. Salalah's port is a key gateway for the country. In nearby Wadi Darbat, the storm's rains supercharged its famous waterfall. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

"It was a scary feeling, as if it was the end of world", Mohammed Omer Baomer, an Omani resident, told AP.

As Mekunu barrelled overhead, the eye of the storm provided a moment's respite. They laughed and shared plates by flashlight in a darkened ballroom, the cyclone's wind a boring roar behind their clatter.

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