Cyclone Chapala batters war-torn Yemen

Baku, November 3, AZERTAC

A rare tropical cyclone has made landfall on Yemen's southern coast, flooding the port city of Mukalla.

Thousands fled as the storm, named Chapala, brought hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and huge waves to the area. There were no reports of casualties.

The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) said it had delivered trauma kits for 1,000 patients in Mukalla, which has been controlled by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula since April, and was providing fuel for hospitals and ambulances.

The effects of the cyclone, it added, would be felt over large parts of Yemen but were likely to be more severe in Shabwa and Hadramawt.

The provinces have a combined population of 1.8 million, including more than 100,000 internally displaced persons and 27,000 refugees and migrants.

Chapala earlier wreaked havoc on Socotra, situated 368km (230 miles) south of the coast of Yemen in the Arabian Sea.

At least one person was killed and more than 200 were injured as the cyclone passed over the island, generating gusts of up to 240km/h (150mph) - equivalent to a category 4 hurricane.

The mayor of the provincial capital, Hadibu, told AFP that dozens of houses and hamlets were severely damaged or washed away.

Socotra is home to about 50,000 people and hundreds of exotic plant species found nowhere else, including dragon's blood trees.

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