Cyclone tears through Yemeni island Socotra

Cyclone tears through Yemeni island Socotra

Cyclone tears through Yemeni island Socotra

It warned however that heavy rain and strong winds of about 60 kilometers (37 miles) an hour would continue to pummel Dhofar and Al-Wusta provinces, while sea conditions were rough with high tides reaching eight meters (yards).

A picture taken on Friday shows cars driving through a flooded street in the southern city of Salalah as Oman prepared for landfall of Cyclone Mekunu.

Civil aviation authority have closed Salalah airport until midnight on Saturday.

The cyclone intensified in strength on Friday but has now been downgraded and officials said it would weaken further into a tropical storm. The most recent to make landfall close to the city of Salalah occurred in 1963 and 1959.

He told AFP that authorities have recovered the bodies of the five Yemeni nationals and two Indians and were still searching for the remaining 12.

Earlier, the Mekunu wreaked havoc in Yemen´s Socotra island killing at least seven people, as it headed northwest to Saudi Arabia, Oman´s Directorate of Meteorology said.

Yemeni relief officials called on global aid agencies to "send medical teams urgently" to Socotra and other areas in South Yemen expected to be hit by the fast moving cyclone.

Flash floods engulfed Socotra streets, cutting electricity and communication lines.

Salalah has had three-years worth of its typical rainfall in one day
Image Salalah has had three-years worth of its typical rainfall in one day

In Salalah, rains had nearly stopped on Saturday, an AFP photographer said, but many streets were still under water and nearby valleys were flooded.

A powerful cyclone has killed a 12-year-old girl and left at least nine other people dead as it battered parts of Oman and Yemen. Cyclone Mekunu will be "extremely severe" when it crashes into the Arabian Peninsula.

On Socotra, authorities relocated over 230 families to sturdier buildings and other areas, including those more inland and in the island's mountains, Yemeni security officials said.

Yemeni officials also reported damage in the east of the country along the border with Oman.

Authorities called on humanitarian organisations and the Saudi-led military coalition that is battling Huthi rebels in the country to help, according to state-run news agency Saba.

37% of Socotra's plant species, 90% of its reptile species and 95% of its land snail species do not occur anywhere else in the world.

As Mekunu barrelled overhead, the eye of the storm provided a moment's respite.

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