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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 2 March 2021

Three dead in Salalah flash flooding

The flooding, caused by a tropical storm, washed away cars and exterior walls

Torrential rain caused heavy flooding in Oman's southern city of Salalah. Photo courtesy Marwa Ruqaishi
Torrential rain caused heavy flooding in Oman's southern city of Salalah. Photo courtesy Marwa Ruqaishi

Two more people have died in flash flooding caused by a tropical storm that continues to lash Oman’s southern city of Salalah, taking the total number of deaths to three in the last two days.

The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances said a man died after the roof of his house collapsed on him and another when his car was swept away by water. On Saturday, a man died in a water channel while attempting to cross a wadi.

Rainfall was recorded between 100-200mm in Salalah and other towns in the governorate of Dhofar and a surface wind speed of around 30kph to 45kph was recorded as the storm continued to rage into Sunday.

Witnesses said heavy rains forced people to stay indoors, but the walls of some older houses caved in.

“No one is outside. A house in the same neighbourhood where I live collapsed but thank god no one died,” Sharif Mahoot, 27, a resident of Salalah, said.

State television said the Civil Defence evacuated more than a hundred construction labourers living in accommodation from different parts of Salalah by air.

It also delivered food to stranded villagers living on the outskirts of the city.

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Oman floods leave one dead in southern city of Salalah

Flooding sparked by the heavy rains forced a hospital to close after water flooded the wards. Patients were evacuated to the two main hospitals in central Salalah.

Oman was hit by Cyclone Mekunu in May 2018 and left three people dead and caused severe damages to properties. The country then declared three days off for residents in the Dhofar region to allow recovery work. Salalah, like the rest of Oman, has extensive drainage system but it has a rocky soil and that makes it difficult for the rainwater to soak in.

The government imposed a temporary curfew for Salalah residents not to go out unless it was necessary. People with symptoms of Covid-19 were told to call an emergency number.

Oman reported 1,014 new cases on Sunday bringing a total of infected people to 11,437 and 44 people have died so far from the pandemic.

Updated: May 31, 2020 07:36 PM

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