Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical storm Luban, and will probably head towards Yemen instead. (Photo courtesy: met.gov.om)
Updated 11 October 2018

Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

  • The storm is likely to develop into a category one cyclone, over the next 12 hours
  • The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen

DUBAI: Oman is on alert after the meteorology center upgraded Luban to tropical cyclone category one on Wednesday while Yemen issued a warning. 

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical cyclone, and will probably head towards Yemen instead, Omani forecasters said.

Meteorologists warned that heavy rainfall and strong winds would hit Oman as the storm makes landfall. And residents have been warned to take precautions.

Meanwhile, Yemen, worn by an ongoing conflict that has weakened the country’s infrastructure, will face the full force of the storm.

The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen.

Oman’s Meteorology specialist, Hamood Al-Naabiya, had previously told Arab News on Tuesday that if the storm traveled towards the Gulf of Aden, the destructive effects would be less than that of Cyclone Mekunu which killed dozens in May.

In May Cyclone Mekunu ripped through the Yemeni island of Socotra, causing severe flooding, and extensive damage including six ships that sank - four at sea. Flood waters washed away thousands of animals and cut electricity and communication lines. Cyclone Mekunu then moved onto Salalah where whole areas of beach were washed away, as were roads, power cables and properties damaged.

At the end of the week, Mekunu had left 30 people dead - including a 12-year-old girl in Oman, while dozens of others were missing.

Oman subsequently announced schools in Dhofar governorate will close Thursday as a cyclone gathers strength in the Arabian Sea, five months after Cyclone Mekunu killed 11 people in the sultanate and Yemen.
“Schools will be shut as precautionary measure and to protect the students and staff... and in case residents need shelter during that time,” the education directorate in Dhofar, 950 kilometers south of Muscat, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Luban is currently considered a category one tropical cyclone.
In May, Cyclone Mekunu killed at least 11 people in southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The cyclone had isolated parts of Socotra island — part of a UNESCO-protected archipelago for its rich biodiversity — with the government declaring it a “disaster” zone.


UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

Updated 22 August 2019

UN warns of severe aid cuts in Yemen without new funds soon

  • Donors have pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis
  • But UN humanitarian chief Lise Grande says less than half the amount has been received so far
UNITED NATIONS: The UN humanitarian chief in Yemen warned Wednesday that unless significant new funding is received in the coming weeks, food rations for 12 million people in the war-torn country will be reduced and at least 2.5 million malnourished children will be cut off from life-saving services.
Lise Grande said the UN was forced to suspend most vaccination campaigns in May, and without new money a “staggering” 22 life-saving programs in Yemen will close in the next two months.
At a UN pledging conference in February, donors pledged $2.6 billion to meet the urgent needs of more than 20 million Yemenis, but Grande said that to date, less than half the amount has been received.
“When money doesn’t come, people die,” she said in a statement Wednesday.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, by Iran-backed Houthi Shiite rebels who control much of the country’s north. A Saudi-led coalition that includes the United Arab Emirates allied with Yemen’s internationally recognized government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has left thousands of civilians and created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, leaving millions suffering from food and medical care shortages and pushing the country to the brink of famine.
UN deputy humanitarian chief Ursula Mueller told the Security Council on Tuesday that 12 million Yemenis have been assisted every month, “but much of this is about to stop” because only 34% of the UN’s $4.2 billion appeal for 2019 has been funded.
At this time last year, she said, 65% of the appeal was funded, including generous contributions from Yemen’s neighbors Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The UN humanitarian office in New York said Wednesday that Saudi Arabia and the UAE each pledged $750 million to its Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019.
Grande said the UN is grateful to donors who have lived up to their promises, and in half the districts where people were facing famine “conditions have improved to the point where families are no longer at risk of starvation.”
But she said of the 34 major UN humanitarian programs in Yemen, only three are funded for the entire year. Several have been forced to close in recent weeks, Grande said, and many large-scale projects designed to help destitute, hungry families have been unable to start.
Without new funds in the coming weeks, she said, 19 million people will also lose access to health care, including 1 million women who depend on the UN for reproductive health services. In addition, Grande said, clean water programs for 5 million people will have to shut down at the end of October and tens of thousands of displaced families may find themselves homeless.
“Millions of people in Yemen, who through no fault of their own are the victims of this conflict, depend on us to survive,” she said. “All of us are ashamed by the situation. It’s heart-breaking to look a family in the eye and say we have no money to help.”