At least nine people were killed in Oman and Iran on Sunday as Tropical Cyclone Shaheen hit parts of their coastline.
In Oman, two Asian workers were killed in a landslide that affected their residential area in an industrial area as a result of the cyclone. A child swept away by the storm surges was found dead, the state news agency said, and another person was reported missing.
“The eye of the tropical cyclone is currently entering between Musanah and Suwaiq states, accompanied by very heavy rains and high winds. The wind speed on the wall of the cyclone is between 120 and 150 km / h [75-93 mph]The state news agency reported.
Cyclone Shaheen prompted authorities to suspend flights to and from the capital Muscat and urge residents to evacuate coastal areas.
The cyclone is expected to “have a direct impact on northern Al-Batinah, Al Dhahira, Al Buraimi and Al Dakhliya,” according to a statement from the country’s meteorological agency, adding that Shaheen has been demoted. tropical storm after making landfall in Oman.
“Risk of heavy flooding”
One of the biggest threats posed by the cyclone, according to Jeff Harrington, weather specialist at Al Jazeera, is that in Oman’s desert climate, “the ground is very dry, so it cannot absorb the rain.” .
“The second part is that this is a mountainous area, which means the rain falls well above and squirts, so the combination of the two would cause a risk of heavy flooding,” he said. Harrington said.
– الطّيران المدني (@CAAOMN) October 3, 2021
Across the sea in Iran, six people were killed in the port of Chabahar in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, the 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 km (130 miles) off the coast of the province, he said.
“Unfavorable climatic conditions”
Back in Oman, the national emergency committee said power would be cut off in al-Qurm, east of the capital, to prevent accidents. More than 2,700 people have been accommodated in emergency shelters.
Most of the oil-exporting country’s five million people live in and around Muscat. The capital’s roads would only be open to vehicles making emergency and humanitarian journeys until the storm is over, authorities said.
Oman also declared a two-day national holiday on Sunday and Monday, closing schools, “due to adverse weather conditions,” the state news agency reported.
Traffic suspended in all streets of Muscat except Muscat Expressway until the end of the direct impacts of Cyclone Shaheen. There will be access only for emergency and humanitarian cases. https://t.co/1GkKSJj272
– الة الأنباء العمانية (@OmanNewsAgency) October 3, 2021
Deadly storms are recurring events in the Gulf. In July, northern Oman was affected by heavy rains, hail and high winds.
In May 2018, Cyclone Mekunu hit southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra, killing at least 11 people.
Oman 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 already been hit hard by the drop in global crude prices since 2014 and the coronavirus pandemic.
The UAE was also bracing for the possible impact of 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,” said its National Crisis and Disaster Management Authority.
All construction work was halted in Al-Ain, on the border with Oman, until Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi media office said, while the children will study remotely on Monday and Tuesday.