Five people were killed and at least 40 missing on the Yemeni island of Socotra on Friday as Cyclone Mekunu pummeled the area then made its way towards the Arabian Peninsula’s southern coast.
The five dead included four Yemenis and one Indian national, residents and medical sources told Reuters, while the missing including Yemenis, Indians and Sudanese.
Yemen declared a state of emergency on Thursday for Socotra, which lies between southern Yemen and the Horn of Africa and is renowned for its unique animal and plant life.
The storm flooded Socotra’s villages and capsized boats, leaving much of the island without access to communications.
Omani authorities said they expected the cyclone to pass over the city of Salalah on Friday night. As wind and rain began to pummel southern Oman during the day, they extended the closure of the city’s airport through Saturday.
Mekunu was expected to weaken to a tropical storm before reaching southeastern Saudi Arabia on Saturday, according to the kingdom’s meteorological authority.