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Powerful Cyclone Chapala Heads For Yemen

Cyclone Chapala

Cyclone Chapala was approaching war-torn Yemen on Monday after wreaking havoc on the Socotra island where at least two people died and hundreds were injured.

The rare tropical cyclone destroyed homes and forced evacuations on the island.

Socotra’s Deputy Governor, Ramzi Mahfouz said that about 9,000 people were transported from their homes to safer areas by authorities.

The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) has reported that Chapala is expected to make landfall at about 06:00 GMT on Tuesday morning.

The BBC reports:

Many residents took shelter in schools and caves as the storm, named Chapala, brought hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and powerful waves to the island.

Photos and videos posted online showed water flowing through the streets of the provincial capital, Hadibu.

It is believed to be the most powerful storm that Yemen has seen in decades.

The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation described the cyclone as “extremely severe”, and said that sea conditions around the centre of the storm were “phenomenal”.

At 06:00 GMT on Monday, the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre reported that Chapala was generating gusts of up to 240km/h (150mph), equivalent to a category 4 hurricane.

Gusts of up to 165 km/h are forecast for when the storm makes landfall just west of the city of Mukalla, on the south coast of the Yemeni mainland, at around 06:00 GMT on Tuesday.

The cyclone could deluge parts of the country with up to 500mm (20in) of rain in two days – 10 times the annual average.