Oman to allocate $500m to repair damage caused by Cyclone Shaheen

Sultan Haitham bin Tarek had ordered his Cabinet to form a committee to assess the damage

An aerial view of the aftermath of Cyclone Shaheen in Al Khaburah city, Al Batinah region, Oman, on October 4, 2021. AFP

Oman will allocate 200 million rials ($500 million) in its 2022 budget to repair damages caused by Cyclone Shaheen in November, the finance minister said on Tuesday.

“Rebuilding the areas worst hit by Cyclone Shaheen will cost about 200 million rials,” Sultan Salim Al Habsi told Oman TV.

Most of the destruction was in the Batinah region, in the towns of Al Musannah, Suwaiq, Saham, Khabourah and Sohar, which were hit by 110-kilometre-an-hour winds and 12-metre waves.

On October 6, Sultan Haitham bin Tarek ordered his Cabinet to form a committee to assess the extent of the damage.

“The committee was led by the minister of finance and now it has concluded how much is needed to put right the widespread damages. Not only for the public properties, but houses affected by the storms to support homeowners and private businesses,” an official told The National.

Cyclone Shaheen, with winds at times reaching 150kph, killed 12 people in Oman and two in Iran. It destroyed homes, damaged infrastructure and forced more than 5,000 people into temporary accommodation.

Days after the storm, about 20,000 volunteers, Omanis and expatriates, removed tonnes of mud, debris, rubble, dead animals, fallen trees and damaged cars from the wadis in what they said at the time was like "a UN task force" in a show of national solidarity.

The floods damaged more than 1,000 houses.

Last month, Oman’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning said it was planning to build 328 houses for families who lost their properties in the storm.

An official at the ministry of housing on Tuesday said that the process to build the houses for citizens who had their homes destroyed has already begun.

“These houses will be built on higher ground and not in areas prone to storms and flooding. We are already mobilising the process of the construction of the houses and we expect to finish them towards the end of next year,” the official told The National.

Omanis whose houses were destroyed said they were happy that the government is speeding up the process to build them new homes.

“We were taken to the place where the new homes will be and we are happy with the location. We are also happy that the process has already begun – to start the construction – and hopefully we will be in our new homes before the year 2022 has ended,” Nasser Al Saadi, 67, a retired bank cashier, told The National.

Updated: December 14th 2021, 12:59 PM