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Second cyclone kills six, hits Yemen mainland

ADEN - Cyclone winds and rain killed up to six people on Yemen's Socotra island before hitting the mainland on Tuesday, the second such storm there in a week, the United Nations said.

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ADEN - Cyclone winds and rain killed up to six people on Yemen's Socotra island before hitting the mainland on Tuesday, the second such storm there in a week, the United Nations said.

Cyclone Megh first struck the island on Sunday, going on to injure an estimated 60 people and damage houses, the main power station and hospital, the U.N. humanitarian office OCHA said, in an area where cyclones were virtually unheard of before this month.

The storm then weakened significantly after reaching mainland Yemen's mountainous terrain on Tuesday about 70 km (40 miles) east of Aden, a spokeswoman for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said.

The Geneva-based organisation said a third storm could be brewing in the Arabian Sea, but spokeswoman Clare Nullis said those winds were expected to break up.

The WMO said the highly unusual strike by two cyclones in a week was due to the "Indian Ocean dipole", a weather phenomenon similar to a regional "El Nino" effect caused by unusually warm surface water in the Arabian Sea.

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The lack of experience of cyclones means Yemen, which has been ravaged by war this year, is ill-equipped to deal with floods and high winds.

Megh came a week after Cyclone Chapala killed 11 Yemenis on Socotra and the mainland, dumping nearly a decade of average annual rainfall on the impoverished and war-wrecked country in just two days.

More than a third of Socotra's population, 18,000 people, were displaced by that cyclone.

Megh tracked further south than Chapala and earlier brought three times the annual rainfall to parts of Puntland in Somalia, threatening flash floods around the tip of the Horn of Africa, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said.

Aid efforts in Yemen are hampered by the seven-month war between a Shi'ite militia based in the capital Sanaa and forces loyal to the exiled government backed by Gulf Arab states.

Socotra, 380 km (238 miles) off Yemen in the Arabian Sea, is home to 50,000 residents who have long been isolated from the mainland and speak their own language, Socotri.

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