The death toll in the devastating cyclone Phet that lashed Oman ravaging its coastal areas has gone up to 24. Three expatriates — an Indian, a Pakistani and a Bangladeshi — died in rain-related incidents, reports said.
The dead include a meteorological department official, who was swept away by the high currents in Muscat.
The toll in Cyclone Phet that ravaged the Sultanate over the last 48 hours rose to 24 on Saturday, with another four still missing, the Oman Times reported.
In al Batinah, officials pulled out the bodies of two twin girls — aged 13 — who had drowned in wadi Al Khafdi in A’Rustaq when out on a journey with their family.
An Omani trader and his two daughters were washed away by strong currents. The bodies of two Omanis were found in Bani Khalid while a search is on for two others.
Four Pakistani nationals who were trying to cross a wadi in Nizwa were swept away in the current. Two were rescued while the other two are missing, police said.
Reports said that in Dima Wa Tayyen, a 10-year-old boy drowned when playing while two Omanis were drowned in Samael.
In Jabal Al Akhdhar, an Omani was washed away. On Friday evening, officers at Al Kamil Wal Wafi police station had received an SOS about a group trapped in Markhah in Jalan Bani Bu Ali following they swung into action and rescued two women. A search is on for the others.
Two of a group of four Omanis reported missing in Bani Khalid were found while a search is on for the other two, officers said.
In Sur, police on Saturday rescued nine trapped persons.
Meanwhile, though many establishments were shut on Saturday as a precautionary measure, the situation appeared to be returning to normalcy with the skies clearing over capital Muscat.
The Meteorological office said Phet had weakened its intensity on Friday before heading at a wind speed of up to 120 kilometres towards Pakistan.
The Royal Oman Police had on Saturday reported three dead, which included an Omani and two expatriates.
Before the cyclone struck, authorities had taken several precautionary measures, including evacuating hotels along the east coast and airlifting residents of Masirah Island to safer areas.
The islanders were beginning to return on Saturday, Lt. General Malik bin Suleiman Al Ma’amari, IG of Police and Customs and Chairman of the National Civil Defence, said. He said around 60,000 people were evacuated from the south coast in wake of the warning.
Keywords: cyclone Phet