Cyclone Chapala Hit Yemen's Arabian Sea Coast +VIDEO

Wed Nov 4, 2015 16:59:57

A cyclone with hurricane-force winds made landfall on Yemen's Arabian Sea coast on Tuesday (November 3), flooding the country's fifth-largest city Mukalla and sending thousands of people fleeing for shelter.

Officials and meteorologists say the storm is the most intense in decades in the arid country, whose storm response is hampered by poverty and a raging civil war.

In the provincial capital Mukalla, whose 300,000 people are largely ruled by al Qaeda fighters since the army withdrew in April, water submerged cars on city streets and caused dozens of families to flee to a hospital for fear of rock slides.

Residents said the seafront promenade and many homes had been destroyed by the cyclone, called Chapala, and officials in the dry hinterland province of Shabwa said about 6,000 people had moved to higher ground.

There were no initial reports of injuries.

The cyclone first hit the remote Yemeni island of Socotra, killing three people and displacing thousands.

An island of natural beauty, Socotra is home to hundreds of plant species found nowhere else on Earth and lies 380 km (238 miles) off Yemen in the Arabian Sea. Its 50,000 residents speak their own language.

Meteorological agencies predicted Chapala would hit land around Balhaf, site of Yemen's liquefied natural gas terminal, and weakening as it advanced towards the capital Sanaa in the country's north; Reuters reported.



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