Three dead in landslide, flooding as cyclone lashes Oman

Muscat (AFP) –


Two people were killed by a landslide and a child died in flash flooding as Tropical Cyclone Shaheen pummelled Oman, authorities said Sunday.

Flights were suspended and schools closed as the storm, with wind speeds up to 139 kilometres (86 miles) an hour, was due to cross Oman's north coast in the evening.

In the capital, Muscat, vehicles were tyre-deep in water and streets were empty.

Gulf neighbour the United Arab Emirates was also on "high alert", emergency authorities there said.

Rescue teams pulled the bodies of two men from their home after it was hit by a landslip in the Rusayl industrial area of Muscat province, Oman's National Committee for Emergency Management said.

A child died and another person was reporting missing in flash floods in the same province, it added.

Some flights to and from Muscat International Airport were suspended "to avoid any risks", the airport said, while the Civil Aviation Authority urged people to avoid low-lying areas and valleys.

Oman declared a two-day national holiday on Sunday and Monday and shuttered schools "due to the adverse climate conditions", the official Oman News Agency said.

Deadly storms are periodic occurrences in the Gulf.

In May 2018, Cyclone Mekunu hit southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra, killing at least 11 people.

The UAE was also bracing for the possible impact of Cyclone Shaheen, with emergency authorities urging people to avoid beaches and low-lying areas.

"We would like to assure everyone that the concerned authorities are on high alert and prepared to deal with any upcoming tropical situation," the UAE's National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority said on Saturday.

All construction work has been halted in Al-Ain, bordering Oman, until Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said, while children will study at distance on Monday and Tuesday.