Oman cyclone: 1 Indian killed, 8 missing


Dubai/New Delhi : At least one Indian has been killed and eight declared missing after a massive cyclone wreaked havoc in Oman, home to 386,000 Indians.

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The deceased has been identified as Prakash, who had gone from Kerala to work in Oman, which was hit by the devastating Cyclone Gonu Wednesday.

The missing are Mohammed Ali and Binu from Ernakulam, Udayan from Guruvayoor, Sajith Kumar from Kozhikode, Dharamrajan, Sreenu and Sami from Andhra Pradesh and another person from Punjab who has not been identified, according to the Indian embassy in Muscat.

All of them were working for a private engineering firm near Muscat.

"All Indian school managements in Oman have been asked to help in the rehabilitation process, and the Indian government will help in every possible manner," Minister for State for External Affairs E. Ahamed told IANS.
"The Indian mission in Oman has been asked to coordinate relief and rehabilitation of Indians along with Indian associations in the country," he said.

"Our embassy is in constant touch with the Omani authorities to ascertain the safety of Indian citizens. The embassy is also trying to get in touch with the Indian community in various parts of Oman to ascertain the safety of Indians in Oman," the external affairs ministry said here Thursday.

"All personnel of the embassy of India and their families are safe," it said.

Two control rooms have been set up – one at the Indian mission in Oman and another at the ministry of external affairs (MEA) in New Delhi – to assist Indian nationals.

The telephone numbers of the Embassy Control Room are 00968-2481 3838 and 00968-2481 2936; the fax number is 00968-2481 1607.

The MEA control room numbers are: 011-2301 5300, fax: 011-2301 8158, a press release said. Both the control rooms will be manned round the clock.

The Non-Resident Keralites Affairs Department has also set up a help desk in Thiruvanthapuram to provide information on Keralites in Oman. The help desk can be contacted on the following numbers: 0471-2518182, 2518061 and 5518129.

The local government in Muscat has established a casualty bureau where the dead/injured are being tracked and information is expected to be available from this bureau by the end of the day.

Cyclone Gonu is the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Arabian Sea, and is tied for the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the northern Indian Ocean.

Gonu weakened after encountering dry air and cooler waters, and late Tuesday it hit northeastern Oman, becoming the strongest tropical cyclone to hit the Arabian Peninsula. Intense cyclones like Gonu have been rare over the Arabian Sea, as most storms in this area tend to be small and dissipate quickly.