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The Latest: Oman's police: Cyclone kills 12-year-old girl

By The Associated Press  |  Posted May 25th, 2018 @ 12:51pm


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SALALAH, Oman (AP) — The Latest on Cyclone Mekunu that is headed for the coast of Oman (all times local):

9:45 p.m.

The Royal Oman Police says a 12-year-old girl has died after the winds of Cyclone Mekunu caused her to collide with a wall.

The death is the first confirmed in the powerful cyclone.

Police made the statement late Friday night as the cyclone neared Salalah, Oman's third-largest city in its south.

Police offered their condolences on Twitter.

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2:40 p.m.

Officials say preliminary figures show 40 people — among them Yemeni, Indian and Sudanese nationals — are missing after Cyclone Mekunu battered the island of Socotra off the coast of Yemen.

The officials said Friday that over 230 families had been relocated to shelter in sturdier buildings and other areas, including those more inland and in the island's mountains.

They say floods swept Socotra streets, washed away thousands of animals and cut electricity and communication lines. Some humanitarian aid from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates arrived just hours after the cyclone receded.

The officials say heavy rains are now pummeling Yemen's easternmost province of al-Mahra, on the border with Oman. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

—Ahmed al-Haj in Sanaa, Yemen;

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1:05 p.m.

The Indian Meteorological Department, which tracks a cyclone heading toward the coast of Oman, says that country's city of Salalah is "expected to experience maximum wind and maximum rainfall and also the maximum storm surge."

Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, an official at the department, says Cyclone Mekunu is now "located about 180 kilometers south south-east of Salalah," which is about 112 miles.

The official says the cyclone's wind speed is at present about 160-170 kilometers per hour (100-106 miles per hour), coasting to about 190 kph, and was expected to continue at this speed till landfall over Oman.

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12:05

Streets are largely empty in the Omani coastal city of Salalah ahead of Cyclone Mekunu's expected landfall there this weekend.

Heavy rains and strong winds are already lashing the city. Standing water covered some roads on Friday, causing at least one car to hydroplane and flip over.

There was a sizable police presence on the road, many Royal Oman Police SUVs with chicken wire over the windows. The Port of Salalah has been closed, its cranes secured as rain pounded them.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall early on Saturday near Salalah, Oman's third-largest city and home to some 200,000 people.

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11:50 a.m.

Authorities in Oman have opened up local schools in the city of Salalah to shelter those whose homes are at risk as Cyclone Mekunu heads to the shores of this Arabian Peninsula country.

About 600 people, mostly laborers, gathered on Friday at the city's West Salalah School as torrential rains poured down. Some slept on mattresses on the floors of classrooms, where math and English lesson posters hung on the walls.

Shahid Kazmi, a worker from Pakistan's Kashmir region, told The Associated Press that police had moved him and others to the school.

He acknowledged being a bit scared of the storm but said: "Inshallah, we are safe here."

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7:30 a.m.

Meteorologists are warning that Cyclone Mekunu is expected to be "extremely severe" when it makes landfall on the Arabian Peninsula this weekend, after earlier thrashing the Yemeni island of Socotra.

At least 17 people are missing from Socotra, with one Yemeni official describing them as likely dead.

Indian meteorologists tracking the cyclone said early Friday that Mekunu would see gusts of up to 180 kilometers (112 miles) per hour.

The cyclone is expected to make landfall early Saturday on the Arabian Peninsula near Salalah, Oman's third-largest city and home to some 200,000 people. Strong waves already are crashing into its beaches early Friday morning.

On Socotra, Gov. Ramzy Mahrous says one ship sank and two others ran aground in the storm.

He says of the missing: "We consider them dead."

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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