At least 9 dead as cyclone hits Oman, Iran – Manila bulletin
MUSCAT, Oman – At least nine people were killed in Oman and Iran on Sunday as Tropical Cyclone Shaheen hit parts of their coastline, authorities said.
In Oman, two people died in a landslide and a child in flash floods, officials said.
Rescue teams have removed the bodies of two Asian workers from their landslide-hit home in the Rusayl industrial zone in Muscat province, Oman’s National Emergency Management Committee said.
The child died and another person was reported missing in flash floods in the capital province, he added.
Flights have been suspended and schools closed as the storm, with winds reaching 139 kilometers (86 miles) per hour, was expected to cross Oman’s northern coast in the evening.
In the capital, Muscat, vehicles sank into the water and the streets were deserted.
Across the sea in Iran, six people were killed in the port of Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, parliamentary news agency ICANA reported, citing Vice President Ali Nikzad.
“The infrastructure, including electrical installations and roads, has been damaged,” provincial governor Hossein Modarres-Khiabani told Iranian state-run news agency IRNA.
The eye of the storm was 220 kilometers (130 miles) off the coast of the province, he said.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was also on “high alert”, emergency services said.
Some flights to and from Muscat International Airport have been suspended “to avoid any risk,” the airport said, while the Civil Aviation Authority urged people to avoid low areas and the valleys.
Oman declared a two-day national holiday on Sunday and Monday and closed schools “due to adverse weather conditions,” the official Oman news agency said.
– ‘High alert’ –
Deadly storms are recurring events in the Gulf.
In July, northern Oman was hit by heavy rains, hail and high winds.
And in May 2018, Cyclone Mekunu hit southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra, killing at least 11 people.
Oman, a country of some 4.6 million people, reopened to foreign tourists last month after a shutdown imposed by Covid.
The Gulf country – known for its rich heritage, scenic coastline and stunning terrain – has been hit hard by the drop in global crude prices since 2014 and the coronavirus pandemic.
The sultanate relied on tourism to boost its declining economy, but the virtual collapse of international leisure travel has pushed those plans back.
The UAE was also bracing for the possible impact of Cyclone Shaheen, with emergency authorities urging people to avoid beaches and low lying areas.
“We would like to assure everyone that the authorities concerned are on high alert and ready to deal with any tropical situation to come,” its National Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said on Saturday.
All construction work has been halted in Al-Ain, on the Oman border, until Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi media office said, while the children will study remotely on Monday and Tuesday.
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