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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Remembering 'Gonu', as we remain concerned about Cyclone 'Phet'

As we remain concerned about the prospect of Cyclone Phet hitting Oman's Coastal areas, my mind goes back to that awful day in June, almost exactly three years to the day. It was the 6th of June 2007 and Cyclone Gonu hit Muscat. 
Cyclone Gonu leaves behind a trail of destruction at Al Amerat, and Wadi Adai areas. (My article -Oman Observer-7/6/07)

Residents of Al Amerat and Wadi Adai areas will never forget Wednesday, the 6th of June 2007. A full day and night, when many of them found the world completely turned around, and in some cases, were left with complete destruction and heartache.

Thanks to all the warnings that had been issued by the DGCAM, however prepared people were for the cyclone, what they were not prepared for was the force and quantum of water brought in by the Wadi Adai. As the accompanying photos will testify to, the water in the Wadi rose steadily, and menacingly, and for many hours on Wednesday, it resembled a raging river.

Coming from India, we were used to the sight of many swollen rivers, but this was truly frightening to watch. From our safe lookout in Hatat House, we were able to see how the lower lying areas around, were getting submerged, and we saw people move out of their houses, on to the roofs, and then, realizing that this would also probably not help them in the long run, moved away to the shelters that had been to advised by the government authorities.

At about 1600 hours on Wednesday,the Wadi Adai roundabout was overrun by muddy waters, with floating debris, comprising broken pieces of wood, and other miscellaneous items, and this continued for many hours after that. People from the nearby shops, were seen quickly carrying out items like sofa sets, tables, and chairs, so that they could be shifted to more secure areas. Compounding the situation was the fact of the total breakdown of power at about 1830 hours, which continued right upto 0630 hrs on Thursday morning.

The Wadi raged all through the night, and the road to Al Amerat was badly damaged, with some sections of it completely washed way. On Thursday morning, we were able to see people coming out to check out the extent of damage, and removing some trucks, and cars which had been tossed about overnight.

Once the rain stopped, it was a matter of time, the Wadi’s water slowly receded, and by about 6am. it had been reduced to a controlled, semi dry area. The trauma of the previous day and night, was over, leaving behind some completely changed topography
All photos - Avi Ahluwalia

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