Cyclone death toll in Oman, Yemen rises to at least 13
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The death toll from Cyclone Mekunu that hit Oman and Yemen over the weekend rose to at least 13 on Monday, authorities said, as relief workers and aid arrived to hard-hit areas in the two Arabian Peninsula countries.
Flooding and damage remains considerable after the cyclone, the strongest-ever recorded to hit southern Oman and the sultanate’s third-largest city of Salalah.
The cyclone’s remaining hazards are just as deadly days after its landfall early Saturday on the coast of Oman. The Royal Oman Police announced Monday the death of two additional Omanis who lost control of their car in flood waters in Salalah.
Those deaths come after Oman’s National Committee for Civil Defense earlier announced that four people had been killed. The dead include a 12-year-old girl killed when the storm’s strong winds flung open a metal door that struck her in the head.
While Salalah International Airport already has reopened, there’s still much damage that needs to be repaired in Oman, from downed power lines to whole roadways swallowed by raging flash floods. Water supplies also have been affected.
Before hitting Oman, Mekunu struck Yemen’s Socotra in the Arabian Sea, causing massive damage to the island that UNESCO has recognized as a world natural heritage site. The storm killed at least seven people there while eight remain missing, according to the United Nations.
Over 500 families were displaced by the storm, which sent flash floods through streets and homes on the island. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar all have sent relief material to the island, as has the U.N.
Cyclone Mekunu packed maximum sustained winds of 170-180 kilometers (105-111 miles) per hour with gusts of up to 200 kph (124 mph). Omani forecasters said Salalah and the surrounding area would get at least 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) of rain, over twice the city’s annual downfall. It actually received 278.2 mm, nearly three times its annual rainfall.