oman weather sultanate better prepared to tackle cyclones
Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Last Updated : GMT 05:21:58
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Oman weather: Sultanate better prepared to tackle cyclones

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Arab Today, arab today Oman weather: Sultanate better prepared to tackle cyclones

Gonu
Muscat - Arab today

Ten years on from the devastation caused by Cyclone Gonu, Oman is much better prepared for such a large-scale disaster, according to experts at Sultan Qaboos University.

Gonu, which remains Oman’s largest environmental disaster, struck the nation on June 6, 2007, and resulted in the deaths of 49 people, causing some OMR 1.6 billion in damages, as it tore through the country, destroying roads and disrupting power and water supplies to large parts of the country, in addition to extensive flooding of low-lying areas. 

“The government has built weather stations which can tell you a lot of information that was not available before,” said Dr. Ali Al Nuaimi, Associate Professor at the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at SQU. “Some of these stations can tell you when a flood will hit, what the estimated areas of damage will be, etc. They transmit this via satellites, and there is now a very good airlifting system involving the ROP, Ministry of Defence and PACDA.” “They’ve also built roads, so that they go through the mountain instead of through the wadi, to avoid flooding, and they have also reserved places to build shelters for emergency evacuation, with readymade access to power and water, so that camps and tents can be built very quickly,” he added. The three agencies are part of Oman’s National Disaster Committee, which has been set up to prepare for natural disasters, such as Gonu.

“It has representatives from the different agencies in the country, such as the ROP, the Ministry of Health, the Public Authority for Water Resources, the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance, and many universities,” said Al Nuaimi, who works closely with this committee. “So many people are involved in this, and there are plans for evacuation, mobilisation of hospitals, and more.”

Oman has completed significant work to avoid what happened last time. An example of this is the construction of the Wadi Dayqah dam in Quriyat, which was built in 2012. One of the largest dams in the nation, it covers over 350 hectares and can store up to 100 million cubic metres of water.

“Another dam was constructed downstream of Al Amerat wadi, to divert storm water,” added Dr. Abdullah Al-Mamun, Assistant Professor at the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at SQU.

“Another two dams were constructed to divert flash flooding, and the government has performed dredging of the major wadis in Qurum, Al Amerat and Al Khuwair areas to increase the rainwater carrying capacity of these areas.”

In addition, research is currently underway to develop an early flash flood warning system.

“Research is being done to identify vulnerable points that are prone to flash flooding, and to make this accessible to people via GPS systems and to notify them via SMS,” he added. This began under the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in 2014.” Residents in Oman still remember how Gonu affected the nation.

“I still remember that time,” recalled Mehdi Ali. “Everything had gone upside down in Oman. There was no drinking water available and the tankers were charging as high as OMR100 to help us. Our relatives were stuck in Amerat, as roads were completely devastated. The ministry had issued a warning, but no one had taken it seriously.”

“I remember when cyclone Gonu struck,” recalled Marife Ranada. “I’d just gotten back from vacation. Filipinos are known for bringing back foodstuffs to give away to friends, but I ended up eating them all as there was a scarcity of food. It was crazy. Drinking water was also not available.”

Source: Timesofoman

 

 

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