Cyclone Gonu kills 12 in Iran, Gulf toll 61


Abu Dhabi/Tehran : Twelve people have been killed in southeastern Iran in flash floods caused by Cyclone Gonu as the death roll across Gulf region following the fury mounted to 61.

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According Farzad Panahi, head of Iran's emergency services, the cyclone caused flash floods in Hormozgan and Sistan-Balochistan provinces in Iran damaging about 70 percent of the residential houses in the town of Jask, Xinhua reported.

Panahi warned of sanitary and health problems due to shortage of clean water.

Oman's official news agency ONA reported that Gonu, which hit the sultanate this week before moving towards Iran, killed at least 49 people and left 27 missing in Oman.

The UAE-based Gulf newspaper cited an Omani police source as saying that some 20,000 people were affected by cyclone Gonu, which caused major damage in the country before moving towards the coast of Iran and Pakistan, RIA Novosti said.

Police and rescuers were continuing the search for those missing. The government estimates the cost of the storm damage at billions of dollars. It has launched a nationwide relief effort to help the victims of the natural disaster.

Gonu, which reached its maximum force Tuesday and faded to a category one storm Wednesday, moved along Oman's heavily populated coast, sweeping through its main cities, industrial areas and ports.

Omani authorities said Gonu could be the strongest hurricane to hit Oman's coast since 1977, when at least 500 people were killed by raging storms.