Oman Air Force personnel fly over the Al Khaburah district to assess damage from Cyclone Shaheen on Monday. AP
Gulf Today Report
The death toll from Cyclone Shaheen rose to 13 on Monday while other fishermen from Iran remained missing as the storm moved further inland into Oman and weakened.
Authorities in Oman said they found the body of a man who disappeared when floodwaters swept him away from his vehicle.
Rescue teams pulled the bodies of two Asian workers from their home hit by a landslide in the Rusayl industrial area of Muscat province, Oman's National Committee for Emergency Management (NCEM) said. The NCEM announced on Monday afternoon seven additional deaths from the storm, without elaborating.
Storm with wind speeds up to 139 kilometres an hour was due to cross Oman's north coast in the evening.
Latest data showed that the storm had subsided, the civil aviation authority said on Monday, warning that scattered rainfall was still expected.
It urged citizens to be careful crossing valleys and avoid low-lying areas. When the eye of the storm crossed land, Shaheen was carrying winds of between 120 and 150km per hour, Omani authorities said. It was throwing up waves of up to 10 metres.
Flooded streets are seen in Muscat. AFP
Video footage from Omani broadcasters showed vehicles submerged as people tried to make their way through muddy brown floodwater. State TV showed people in flooded areas being rescued by helicopter. People walked along flooded streets, while a tractor ploughed through mud.
Some flights to and from Muscat International Airport were suspended "to avoid any risks", the airport said, while the Civil Aviation Authority urged people to avoid low-lying areas and valleys.
Oman declared a two-day national holiday on Sunday and Monday and shuttered schools "due to the adverse climate conditions," the Oman News Agency (ONA) said.
A car is partially submerged on a flooded street in Muscat. Reuters
Up to 500mm of rain was expected in some areas, raising the risk of flash floods. Cyclones steadily lose their power over land and Shaheen was downgraded to a tropical storm after it cleared the ocean, the meteorology service said on Twitter.
Meanwhile in Iran, the state-run IRNA news agency said rescuers found the bodies of two of five fishermen who went missing off Pasabandar, a fishing village near the Islamic Republic's border with Pakistan.
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Iran's Sistan and Pakistan’s Balochestan province also saw 122 people go to the hospital on Sunday after a dust storm spun up by the cyclone caused them to suffer from eye, heart and lung problems, said Abbasali Arjmandi, the governor of the city of Zabol. Eighteen needed to be hospitalised for further care, he said.
Passengers queue up at Muscat Airport.
Due to the adverse climate conditions being witnessed by the Sultanate and, in coordination with the National Committee for Emergency Management (NCEM) and to ensure safety of public and private employees, it was decided that Sunday and Monday (Oct3-4, 2021) will be an official holiday for employees of the departments of the state administrative apparatus, other legal entities and private sector's establishments, except the Governorates of Dhofar and Al Wusta.
A flooded street seen in Muscat. Reuters
Private sector business owners may keep their employees working in the above-mentioned days, if deemed necessary to continue work during this holiday.
This is without prejudice to measures of health and occupational safety. In this case, the workers have to be compensated.
India's Meteorological Department, the top forecasters for cyclones that sweep across the Indian Ocean, said winds from Shaheen now gust up to 90kph and would continue to weaken. It predicted the storm would weaken into a tropical depression in the coming hours. Shaheen made landfall with winds reaching up to 150kph.
The UAE-based Storm Centre tweeted a video of one Fahad Mohammed who was enjoying the rain somewhere in Al Ain. In the video, the man was almost pushed back by the sheer force of the storm.
It is expected that the UAE's eastern coast will be affected from Saturday night by a sea tide, especially with the period of high tide on the low areas.
According to NMC the cyclone is likely to form on coming Thursday (Oct.24).
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