Atul Aneja

DUBAI: An Indian was killed and nine are missing after cyclone Gonu hit Oman on Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources told The Hindu that the body of Prakashan, from Mysore, had been identified. Among those missing were five persons from Kerala Sajith Kumar (Kozhikode), Mohammad Ali and Binu (Ernakulum), Udayan (Guruvayur) and Anil (Ottapalam). Prithvi Pal Singh was among the two persons from Punjab listed as missing, as were Sreenu and Swamy from Andhra Pradesh.

Mohammad Abdul Rahim was hospitalised with a leg injury, while Dharmarajan from Hyderabad was discharged.

The sources said it appeared that the victims belonged to Engine Engineers Ltd., a firm run by Indians.

The Omani authorities said 12 persons were reported dead following the cyclone.

The storm caused considerable damage in the 150 km stretch between Muscat and Sur, where the Indo-Oman joint venture on fertilizers is located. Communication links are yet to be restored. Consequently, the Indian embassy in Muscat is yet to establish contact with the head of the Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO).

An Omani military column managed to reach Sur on Thursday, and more information on the extent of the damage is expected to emerge. The $969 million OMIFCO project is around two years old.

The cyclone damaged power lines, and nearly 60 per cent of Oman was without electricity. Half of the telephones in Muscat were not functioning, the sources said.

The cyclone, now downgraded to a tropical storm, hit the southern Iranian coast. It is heading in a southeasterly direction towards the Strait of Hormuz and the city of the Chah Bahar, close to the Pakistani border.

Nearly a fourth of world's oil supplies pass through the Strait of Hormuz. Any disruption in the movement of oil tankers and damage to the oil platforms will impact on international oil prices.

Officials in Oman said the cyclone did not affect oil tanker traffic through the Strait of Hormuz. In Iran, the oil platforms are not in the storm's path. It is unlikely to threaten the South Pars oil, gas, and petrochemical installations in Assalouyeh in southern Iran.

The world's largest oil producer, Saudi Arabia, which lies west of Oman, said it did not expect the storm to affect its oil-producing areas.

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