Forts, castles shut till Sunday

MUSCAT, Oct 10 – Although the Category 1 cyclone Luban is not expected to be as severe as the dreaded Mekunu, all government agencies have put in place plans to tackle any untoward incidents. All government machineries have been put on alert and some services have already swung into action, said Lt Col Faisal al Hajri, director of the executive office of the National Committee for Civil Defence. While appealing to the general public not to panic, Lt Col Al Hajri said, “We are now more experienced to tackle any kind of a situation that arises from the cyclone.” He urged the people to closely monitor weather reports and watch the meteorological situation.

“Follow information and news from reliable sources, and do not believe rumours circulated online and social media. Listen to radio, watch TV
or browse the Observatory’s website for the latest information on the tropical cyclone,” said Lt Col Faisal al Hajri. Reports from Dhofar indicated that emergency services have already swung into action to pre-empt any kind of shortage of food and other essentials. National sub-committee for Civil Defence met in Salalah and made an assessment of the situation and stressed on the need to take precautionary measures to limit the impact from the cyclone. The Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance (PACDA) and the Public Authority for Civil Aviation (PACA) also hosted meetings to discuss the situation.

Dr Mohammed al Zaabi, head of PACA, held a meeting of the internal committee for managing the extraordinary weather conditions. During the meeting, members of the committee and members of the authority’s office in Dhofar discussed the latest developments in the Arabian Sea and preparations for managing the tropical storm. At the same time, the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement that the castles of Taqah and Mirbat in Dhofar Governorate will be closed until next Sunday in view of the severe weather conditions expected as the tropical storm nears southern Oman. “Please do not include these castles in the tour programmes during the period mentioned,” the statement said.

SAMUEL KUTTY