Death toll in Cyclone Shaheen rises to nine, storm hits Oman, Iran


Muscat: At least nine people died in Oman and Iran on Sunday after Tropical Cyclone Shaheen crushed parts of coastal areas.

Officials said two people were killed in a landslide in Oman and a child in flash floods.

Oman’s National Committee for Emergency Management (NCEM) said rescue teams retrieved the bodies of two Asian workers affected by a landslide in the Rusail industrial area of ​​Muscat province.

It said the child died in flash floods in the capital’s province and another person was reported missing.

Flights were canceled or delayed due to wind speeds reaching 120 kilometers per hour off the northern coast of Oman.

Shaheen was later converted into a tropical storm, the NCEM said.

In the capital Muscat, tires of vehicles were submerged in water and roads were half deserted.

Across the sea in Iran, six people were killed in the Chabahar port in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, parliament’s news agency ICNA reported, citing deputy speaker Ali Nikzad.

“There has been damage to infrastructure, including power facilities and roads,” provincial governor Hossein Modares-Khiabani told Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

He said the eye of the storm was 220 kilometers (130 miles) off the coast of the province.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also went on “high alert”, emergency services said.

Some flights to and from Muscat International Airport were suspended as a precaution, while officials urged people to avoid low-lying areas and valleys.

The official Oman news agency said Oman declared Sunday and Monday a two-day national holiday and closed schools.

– ‘High alert in UAE’ –

Heavy rain, hailstorms and strong winds hit northern Oman in July.

And in May 2018, Cyclone Mekunu struck southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra, killing at least 11 people.

Oman, a country of nearly 4.6 million people, reopened its doors to foreign tourists last month after a Covid-imposed shutdown.

The Gulf country – known for its rich heritage, beautiful coastline and stunning terrain – has been hit hard by the fall in world crude oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic since 2014.

The Sultanate was relying on tourism to boost its flagging economy.

The UAE also weathered the storm, with emergency officials urging people to avoid beaches and low-lying areas.

“We would like to assure everyone that the authorities concerned are on high alert and prepared to deal with any upcoming tropical situation,” the National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said on Saturday.

All construction work in Al-Ain, which borders Oman, was suspended and children were asked to study remotely on Monday and Tuesday.

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