Yemeni men fill plastic jerrycans with water following a tropical cyclone that ha slammed into the war-wracked country, in Mukalla in Yemen's Hadramawt province. Image Credit: AFP

Sana’a: Two rare cyclones a week apart have killed 26 people and affected thousands of families in the southeast of war-torn Yemen, the United Nations said in a statement Saturday.

Tropical storms Chapala and Megh this month hit the island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea some 350 kilometres off the Yemeni mainland, as well as the southeastern provinces of Shabwa and Hadramout.

“The total number of people killed by the two cyclones (is) still 26 in all affected areas of Yemen,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

More than 6,400 families were affected in Shabwa and Hadramout. while a further 1,500 families have been displaced after their homes were damaged, OCHA said citing local NGOs.

The World Meteorological Organization has said that tropical cyclones are extremely rare over the Arabian Peninsula, and two back-to-back was “an absolutely extraordinary event”.

OCHA said Tuesday that Gulf monarchies had sent at least 17 planeloads of humanitarian aid to Socotra in the wake of the storms.

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) distributed more than 35 tonnes of emergency relief material to the Yemeni island of Socotra.

Mohammad Ateeq Al Falahi, ERC Secretary-General, said that the emergency aid mission was organised in accordance with the directives of the UAE leadership to extend prompt assistance to Yemenis whose normal lives have been badly disrupted by the cyclone.

The ERC has provided food, blankets and tents to affected people, Al Falahi said.

Saeed Salem Bahguibh, Governor of Socotra, lauded the UAE and the ERC for their fraternal ties and their support to the people of the island in their hour of need. The cyclone has caused the displacement of thousands of people from their villages and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and houses. He said that the UAE’s humanitarian efforts exemplified the spirit of cohesion and cooperation between the two countries.

Yemeni officials also hailed the considered humanitarian positions taken by the UAE with respect to crises, disasters and conflicts in other parts of the world with a strong emphasis on human solidarity.

People of cyclone-affected areas expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the UAE’s wise leadership and to Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the ERC, for providing them with timely assistance in difficult circumstances.