A tropical cyclone is forecast to develop in the Gulf of Aden from Wednesday, May 16, to Thursday, May 17, bringing potentially heavy rainfall to the southern coast of Yemen in the coming days. According to a severe weather advisory issued by the UK Met Office, rainfall totals of 50-100 mm (2-4 in) are possible along the southern coast in the coming days if the system intensifies into a cyclone and tracks through the center of the Gulf of Aden. If the potential cyclone travels close to Yemen, rainfall totals may exceed 250 mm (9.8 in). In the event of heavy rainfall, consequent flash flooding and landslides are expected in affected areas, which will likely cause transportation and business disruptions. Moreover, heavy rainfall in western Yemen, exacerbated by the cyclone, is anticipated to facilitate an increase in cholera infection rates in the near-term.
While tropical cyclones only rarely affect Yemen and the Gulf of Aden, associated heavy rainfall can bring destructive effects to desert areas. In November 2015, Tropical Cyclone Chapala pummeled Yemen with heavy rain, high winds, and large waves, causing severe flooding and material damages on an immense scale.
Cholera is an infectious disease caused by Vibrio cholerae bacteria that can induce acute diarrhea. The risk of death is greatest among people with low immunity, such as malnourished children or those living with HIV. However, even among healthy adults, cholera can be fatal within a matter of hours.
Individuals present in affected areas are advised to monitor weather reports, avoid areas directly hit by flooding, prepare for associated transportation disruptions, and adhere to any orders issued by the local authorities (e.g. evacuation orders). Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwaters may contain wastewater or chemical products; all items having come into contact with the water should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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