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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 17 November 2018

Luban spares Socotra and weakens as it hits Yemen

Some areas of eastern Yemen and southern Oman experience heavy rain and strong winds

Palm trees battle with heavy winds on a Oman highway as Cyclone Luban approaches. Reuters
Palm trees battle with heavy winds on a Oman highway as Cyclone Luban approaches. Reuters

Cyclone Luban weakened into a "deep depression" as it made landfall in eastern Yemen on Sunday, bring heavy rain and strong winds to large parts of Mahrah province on Sunday.

The worst affected areas were the central city of Ghaidhah, southern areas of Mahrah and Haswein district. Sources in the province said several homes were damaged in flood waters but no casualties were reported.

Luban, which weakened from a category 1 cyclone, appeared to have missed the Yemeni island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean, where there were fears of a repeat of the heavy flooding and devastation wrought by Cyclone Mekunu in May.

Socotra resident Rahmo Khamees told The National that the island experienced only light showers and winds and the sea remained relatively calm.

However residents stayed indoors and some of those living near the coast moved to shelters set up by the Emirates Red Crescent in different areas in the island. Fishermen dragged the boats inland and livestock were kept in their shelters, Mr Khamees said.

In Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province west of Mahrah, skies were cloudy but there was no rain, according to Saleh Askool, a resident of the coastal city.

Mr Askool said residents had been making emergency preparations as the storm approached but it appeared to have headed towards areas to the east such Kusaier and Al Raiyda districts of Hadramawt, which were expecting heavy rains to hit soon.

In Oman, the southern province of Dhofar experienced heavy rains and occasional thundershowers, with winds of 40-50kph, the Times of Oman reported.

Residents were warned to avoid crossing wadis and stay away from low-lying areas for fear of floods.

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Read more:

Oman braces for the devastation of cyclone Luban

Roads to nowhere, early Khareef and riverbed highways: Salalah's dramatic post-Cyclone landscape

Lakes in the desert? New Nasa images show impact of huge tropical storm on the Empty Quarter

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Luban was a category 1 cyclone as it approached southern Oman and Yemen, triggering fears of the torrential rain, flooding and landslides seen when Cyclone Mekunu hit the area in May.

The UN humanitarian co-ordinator for Yemen Lise Grande said aid agencies had been sending medical supplies and emergency survival kits to Mukalla and Hadramawt in recent days. Emergency shelters were assigned and mobile teams kept on standby to help families who are forced to flee their homes.