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Cyclones Chapala and Megh killed 26 in Yemen: U.N.

Tropical storms Chapala and Megh this month hit the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea some 350 kilometres off the Yemeni mainland

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Two rare cyclones a week apart have killed 26 people and affected thousands of families in the southeast of war-torn Yemen, the United Nations said in a statement Saturday.

Tropical storms Chapala and Megh this month hit the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea some 350 kilometres (210 miles) off the Yemeni mainland, as well as the southeastern provinces of Shabwa and Hadramawt.

“The total number of people killed by the two cyclones (is) still 26 in all affected areas of Yemen,” the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

More than 6,400 families were affected in Shabwa and Hadramawt, while a further 1,500 families have been displaced after their homes were damaged, OCHA said citing local NGOs.

The World Meteorological Organization has said that tropical cyclones are extremely rare over the Arabian Peninsula, and two back-to-back was “an absolutely extraordinary event”.

OCHA said Tuesday that Gulf monarchies had sent at least 17 planeloads of humanitarian aid to Socotra in the wake of the storms.

Yemen has been riven by conflict since Iran-backed rebels seized control of the capital Sanaa in September last year and later advanced into other areas.