Oman is underway with a big clean-up of the cyclone-hit Dhofar and Wusta regions of the sultanate’s south, as floods begin to subside revealing damaged infrastructure and drowned homes.
Thousands of volunteers and civil defence workers are helping clear waterlogged areas, while charities and relief groups are also on hand to assist locals affected by the storms.
Six people died when Cyclone Mekunu hit Oman’s coastline on Friday, causing heavy flooding and strong winds, despite the storm being less severe than initially feared.
Civil defence teams began to tow away submerged vehicles over the weekend, along with rescuing those caught up by the floods.
Roads are being repaired, while alternative routes being constructed to isolated villages.
Many are relieved that the hurricane-strength storm was downgraded to a deep depression when it made landfall, with the damage not quite as widespread as expected.
Vision Insurance told Muscat’s stock market that it does not expect pay-outs to exceed 100,000 rials ($260,000), but this is a modest reflection of the overall destruction caused as the vast majority of homes and farms in the south are not covered by insurance.
Oman also ordered businesses to close for three days while the clean-up continues.
Although Salalah Airport reopened on Sunday after halting operations on Friday, Salalah’s port remains closed after the authority issued a “force majeure” until further notice, although some container shipping is thought to be operating.Oman’s council of ministers is assessing the overall damage but praised government ministries, civil defence teams, meteorological departments, media, and citizens for their efforts during the storm.
“The council of ministers would like to express its thanks and appreciation for the efforts of all cooperating parties and personnel,” a statement read. “The governorates of Dhofar and al-Wusta sprang to action.”
The council also offered its commiserations to the families who lost loved ones in the floods.
Three years’ of rainfall swamped Salalah just on Friday, with the local environment transformed by the floods.
Videos showed rain causing waterfalls to cascade down mountainside and canyons, while usually dry wadis erupted with rivers
In the usually rainless Empty Quarter, lakes emerged in the barren desert, according to local news outlets.
Local camel farmers are thankful that when the waters recede the expected sprouting of plants and flowers will provide good grazing grounds for their herds.