Hundreds of families evacuated after cyclone hits Yemeni island

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Sana’a (dpa) – Yemeni authorities have evacuated hundreds of families from coastal areas on the island of Socotra after a powerful cyclone struck the previous day, a senior local security official said Monday.

The families were moved to public buildings and schools on higher ground for shelter, said the official, who declined to be quoted by name.

The Indian Ocean island, which lies about 360 kilometres off the coast of Yemen’s south-eastern Mahra province, was hit by heavy rain and strong winds from Cyclone Chapala with rising waves pounding the coast.

There were no reported fatalities but an as yet undetermined number of injured, the official said, with residents in the east of the island particularly hard to reach.

UNESCO has listed Socotra as a World Heritage Site due to its unique vegetation and animal life, with hundreds of species that occur nowhere else in the world.

Forecasters expect the storm to weaken as it crosses Yemen and Oman late on Monday.

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