Authorities in southern Yemen have declared a state of emergency, suspended schools and told fishermen stay home as the country braces for Cyclone Tej with torrential rain, high seas and wind speeds of up to 110 km per hour.
The India Meteorological Department said on Saturday that a cyclone brewing in the Arabian Sea is likely to develop into a severe cyclonic storm over the next 24 hours, threatening Yemen’s Socotra Island in the Indian Ocean before striking coastal areas between Yemen and Oman early on Wednesday.
The warning prompted Yemeni authorities in Hadramout, Mahra, Shabwa and Socotra to declare a state of emergency and issue regular updates to the public.
Fishermen were ordered not to go to sea, and people living in low-lying areas advised to move their cars and other possessions to safety.
Hadramout Gov. Mabkhout bin Madhi set up a committee to oversee preparations for rescue and storm relief operations.
In neighboring Mahra, an emergency committee made plans for schools to house people forced to leave their homes in the event of severe damage from the cyclone.
Torrential rain on Saturday caused flooding on the island of Socotra as the cyclone made landfall.
Images on social media showed floodwaters covering highways and inundating low-lying areas, although there were no reports of deaths or property damage.
In a warning issued on Saturday afternoon, Yemen Meteorological Services in Sanaa predicted that Socotra and other areas in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden would experience heavy rain and thunderstorms, wind speeds of up to 110 km per hour, poor visibility, and high seas with seven-meter waves.
Yaslem Saeed Babelghom, head of the General Authority for Fisheries in the Arabian Sea in Hadramout, Shabwa and Socotra, told Arab News that he ordered fishermen not to sail to Yemeni or international waters from Saturday.
Fishermen have also been told to empty their docked boats and move the vessels to safer locations.
“Since yesterday, fish processing centers have been operating at full speed to clear all vessels of fish. This action is intended to ensure the fish supply for the local market,” Babelghom said.
In the past decade, Yemen has been struck by an unprecedented number of cyclones and tropical storms, resulting in dozens of deaths, widespread property damage and thousands being left homeless.
Two cyclones, Chapala and Megh, struck Socotra and southeastern provinces of Yemen in 2015, killing at least two dozen people, displacing hundreds more, and destroying farms and roads.
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