November 2015 – YEMEN – The coast of Yemen, an area unaccustomed to dealing with the devastation of tropical systems, has taken a direct hit from the powerful and dangerous Cyclone Chapala. As Chapala made landfall Tuesday, it dumped enormous amounts of rainfall on the arid coast – as much as a decade’s worth, according to some forecasts. This caused major flooding and swamped entire towns. Relief Web reported Tuesday that the cyclone has already caused severe flooding in the country’s fifth-largest city, Mukalla, with 25 reported injuries. Initial reports suggest that more than 12,750 people have left their homes in coastal areas of Hadramaut governorate. At least 90 homes have reportedly been damaged or destroyed.
“The wind knocked out power completely in the city and people were terrified. Some residents had to leave their homes and escape to higher areas where flooding was less; it was a difficult night but it passed off peacefully,” Mukalla resident Sabri Saleem told Reuters. There have been no confirmed injuries in Mukalla so far, the report added. Chapala weakened to a tropical storm late Tuesday night, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, in its routine monthly Desert Locust Bulletin issued Tuesday, said heavy rains from Cyclone Chapala “are likely to result in favorable ecological conditions” for the growth of desert locusts in the central part of the country. The bulletin warned those conditions “could last well into next spring.”
Before hitting the mainland, Chapala sideswiped the Yemeni island of Socotra on Sunday. At least three people were killed and more than 200 were injured on Socotra, according to Emirates 24/7. There was also a huge loss of property on the island, the report added. An estimated 20,000 people were reportedly evacuated from coastal areas and close to 400 houses were damaged or destroyed, Relief Web reported. “The damage is enormous and we fear human losses,” Socotra Island Minister of Fisheries Fahd Kafain told Emirates 24/7. Locals sought shelter in government buildings and schools, as high water levels flooded numerous streets in Hadibo. It is likely that a combination of heavy rainfall and storm surge caused the flooding. –Weather