Cyclone pounds Yemeni island ahead of landfall on Yemen, Oman coast

Men walk on a flooded road Thursday as rain and winds from Cyclone Mekunu hit the island of Socotra

More than 30 people including Indians are missing in Oman since Cyclone Mekunu made landfall on Friday, officials said.

The center of the storm is now about 85 miles south-southwest of Salalah, Oman - the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 300,000 people.

The search is ongoing for eight Indian sailors who went missing when the cyclone hit Socotra's port. At least 40 people were missing, they added.

Mekunu started to weaken to a tropical storm in Oman and authorities began clearing operations on Saturday after the heavy rain but warned residents to stay in their homes, with run-off from river valleys flooding most main roads in Dhofar. Authorities remained anxious about flash flooding in the area's valleys and potential mudslides down its nearby cloud-shrouded mountains.

According to AFP, Socotra's governor Ramzy Mahrous said today that the death toll on the island remained seven - five Yemenis and two Indian sailors.

The storm flooded Socotra's villages and capsized boats, leaving much of the island without access to communications.

The National Center of Meteorology (NCM), however, has said that the cyclone will not reach the UAE and there won't be any direct impact of the cyclone on the country. Some humanitarian aid from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arrived on the island just hours after the cyclone receded.

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The entire country of Oman is in grave danger as Tropical Cyclone Mekunu travels over the Arabian sea.

Meanwhile, Yemen's government has declared the island of Socotra a disaster zone.

The officials said heavy rains pummeled Yemen's easternmost province of al-Mahra, along the nation's border with Oman.

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.

In 2007, Cyclone Gonu tore through Oman, killing at least 49 people and causing damage estimated at $3.9 billion.

Mekunu had intensified to a category two cyclone as it hit Dhofar and AlWusta on the Arabian Sea on Friday, battering the coast with torrential rains, strong winds and massive waves.

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