Home » UAE, Saudi Arabia on alert after Cyclone Shaheen hits Oman

UAE, Saudi Arabia on alert after Cyclone Shaheen hits Oman

Cyclone Shaheen slammed into Oman on Sunday with ferocious winds and heavy rain, flooding streets, prompting evacuations from coastal areas and suspending some flights to and from the capital Muscat.

Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have said precautionary measures are being taken and Saudi Arabia has called for caution in several regions after four people were killed as tropical Cyclone Shaheen made landfall in neighbouring Oman.

Police in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday were patrolling near beaches and valleys where torrential rains were expected to ensure the residents’ safety.

Government and private-sector employees in al-Ain, on the border with Oman, were urged to work remotely on Monday and authorities called on residents to avoid leaving home except for emergencies, the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office said.

“Authorities are working proactively around the clock to evaluate residential units in expected affected areas and transport families to safe locations until it is safe to return,” it said.

Saudi Arabia’s civil defence authorities called for caution in several regions from Monday to Friday in expectation of high winds and possible flooding, the state news agency reported.

A man wades through a flooded street in Oman’s capital Muscat [Haitham Al-Shukairi/AFP]

Cyclone Shaheen slammed into Oman on Sunday with ferocious winds and heavy rain, flooding streets, prompting evacuations from coastal areas and suspending some flights to and from the capital Muscat.

As the cyclone approached, a child, who had been swept away by water, was found dead, the state news agency said, and another missing person was also found dead.

Two workers were killed when a hill collapsed on their housing area in an industrial zone.

When its eye crossed land, the cyclone was carrying winds of between 120 and 150 km/h (75 to 93 mph), Omani authorities said. It was throwing up waves of up to 10 metres (32 feet).

Video footage from Omani broadcasters showed vehicles submerged as people tried to make their way through muddy brown floodwater.

Up to 500cm (20 inches) 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.

The national emergency committee said the power supply would be cut in al-Qurm, east of the capital, to avoid accidents. Aid agencies transferred more than 2,700 people to emergency shelters.

Most of the oil-exporting country’s five million people live in and around Muscat. Authorities said roads in the capital would be open only to vehicles on emergency and humanitarian work until the storm dies down.

A wooden ship sank at Sultan Qaboos Port and its crew was rescued, the National Committee for Emergency Management said on Twitter.

Cars are abandoned on a flooded street as Shaheen makes landfall in Muscat [Sultan Al Hassani/Reuters]

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