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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Yemen's Socotra prepares for cyclone Luban just months after devastating Mekunu  

Cyclone could develop into severe cyclonic storm with winds gusting to 135 kph

Yemenis inspect a ship wrecked after Cyclone Mekunu hit the island of Socotra, in the Indian Ocean in May 2018. EPA
Yemenis inspect a ship wrecked after Cyclone Mekunu hit the island of Socotra, in the Indian Ocean in May 2018. EPA

A tropical cyclone spinning through the Arabian sea could threaten Oman and Yemen this week with flooding and mudslides.

Forecasters warn Cyclone Luban could develop into a severe cyclonic storm with winds gusting to 135 kph. They still aren't sure where it will make landfall.

The storm is likely to travel through the border between Oman and Yemen on Wednesday before turning west towards the Red sea coast at the weekend.

The storm is also expected to sweep the island of Socotra on Friday, where in May Cyclone Mekunu made landfall, causing major damage. Residents were killed, fishing boats destroyed and large areas affected.

"The slow movement of Luban could result in downpours affecting the island from Thursday into Saturday and bring a risk for flooding, mudslides and locally damaging winds" meteorologists said.

Ahmed Saeed of Socotra's environment department told The National there has been a rise in the sea level and strong winds.

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Read more:

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"We warned the fishermen [and] residents to keep away from the coasts," Mr Saeed said.

"The local authority on the Island has done nothing to cope with the situation due to the lack of the financial resources," said Mr Saeed. "We need an early warning station to keep monitoring the climate change but we can't afford to make such important things, the UN team which visited the Island after Mekunu storm promised to provide us with such modern technology but nothing has been done since then."

"They have been talking about making an operation room to help the residents but nothing has been done on the ground, no safe shelters, no emergency rooms, the operation room can do nothing if there is no action on the ground" Mr Saeed said.

"We have pulled out all our fishing canoes and boats and started gathering our cattle into safety shelters especially the big cattle such as cows because we lost a big number of them in the last cyclone that hit our Island in May 2018," Mr Saeed said, before adding that the Emirates Red Crescent had been providing support on the ground.

The Head of the Supreme Relief Committee Abdulraqeeb Fatah has been directing local authorities in Socotra, Mahra, Hadhramout and Shabwa on how to react to the cyclone.

The minister of Local Administration asked the Humanitarian coordinator Lise Grande to inform the United Nations to provide shelter and relief and keep medical teams in proximity of the more vulnerable areas.