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8 killed in Yemen cyclone storm: Official

Cyclone Chapala quieted down on Wednesday, but tens of thousands have been displaced as a result of its force
Yemeni men lift a damaged fishing boat out of the water after a tropical cyclone hit the war-racked country on 3 November in the southern port city of Aden (AFP)

Eight people were killed in south-eastern Yemen by a rare tropical cyclone that wreaked havoc in parts of the war-torn country this week, a local official said on Thursday.

The deaths, five by drowning and three in collapsed homes, occurred in Hadramawt province between Tuesday and early Wednesday, before Cyclone Chapala eased into a depression, said Mohammed al-Amudi of the governorate's technical affairs department. 

Forty people were also injured over the two days, Amudi said.

Around "3,000 families were displaced during the cyclone," he said, reporting "massive destruction" of the province's infrastructure.

An estimated 36,000 people have been displaced as a result of the cyclone. 

Owing to their dry hard terrain, the provinces of Hadramaut and Shawba were hardest hit as the land was unable to absorb the water, causing floods and the potential for standing water.

Doctor Ahmed Shadoul, the World Health Organization’s representative in Yemen, told IRIN, a non-profit media organisation that reports on humanitarian news, that stagnant water was a major cause for concern and could lead to the outbreak of diseases.

Over the course of two weeks, insects and mosquitoes will grow in the stagnant water, he told the agency. Should that happen, “we can expect malaria or dengue fever,” Shadoul said.

Cyclone Chapala weakened on Wednesday after making landfall on Tuesday in mainland Yemen, triggering heavy flash floods after severely striking the country's Arabian Sea island of Socotra.

Weather conditions returned to normal on Thursday.

On the island of Socotra, some 350 kilometres off the Yemeni mainland, more than 200 people were injured and dozens of houses and hamlets severely damaged or washed away when the cyclone hit, according to Salem Zaher, mayor of the island's main district Hadibo.

The UN said on Tuesday that at least 1.1 million people, mainly in Hadramawt and Shabwa, were expected to be affected by Chapala.

Yemen has been riven by conflict since militant Houthi rebels seized control of the capital Sanaa in September last year and advanced on other parts of the country.

A Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against the rebels in March in support of a fightback by forces loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled the Houthi advance to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Qaeda's Yemeni branch has been in control of much of Hadramawt provincial capital Mukalla since April.

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