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Cyclone Mekenu Pummels Yemeni Island, Seven Missing

Seven people were missing and hundreds of others evacuated from their homes after Cyclone Mekunu hit the Yemeni island of Socotra Wednesday night, causing severe flooding and damage to houses, officials said.

Four of the missing were crew on board a boat that sunk when the storm hit the island in the Arabian Sea, a fisheries ministry official told AFP.  

Another official said that 150 families had been evacuated and moved to government facilities after downpours caused houses and streets to flood, trapping people in their homes.

Some residents carrying children tried to escape through the flooded streets, an AFP correspondent said.

Authorities called on humanitarian organisations and the Saudi-led military coalition that is battling Huthi rebels in the country to help, according to state-run news agency Saba.

In neighbouring Oman, authorities announced through the official news agency they were taking "necessary precautions" in case the cyclone hits the Gulf sultanate. 

Millions of Yemenis are living in dire conditions as a  result of a long-running civil conflict, which since 2015 has pitted a Saudi-led coalition against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels. 

But Socotra has been spared involvement in the violence, which has claimed nearly 10,000 lives since March 2015 and triggered what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Source: Agence France Presse


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