MUSCAT: The Royal Oman Police (ROP) aviation played a pivotal role in dealing with Cyclone Mekunu as it devoted its capabilities and manpower to reduce the impact of the storm and provided assistance required to cope with emergencies. Colonel Abdullah bin Mohammed al Yahyai, Director-General of Police Aviation, said the police aviation assumed a two-pronged role in the state of preparedness that proceeded the storm and the relief efforts that ensued. Before the cyclone made landfall, the Police Aviation prepared helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft equipped with crews and made them ready for emergency beside activating operation plans. It also transported crews and medical materials to Dhofar Governorate.
Besides, it stationed 4 helicopters for search and rescue operations in Al Wusta Governorate and 8 multi-purpose helicopters with full crew for support operations in Dhofar. After the cyclone made landfall, the 4 helicopters stationed in Al Wusta Governorate moved to Thamrait Air Base to join the Royal Navy of Oman and carried out joint operations for search, rescue and evacuation besides other tasks. The Police Aviation used various types of aircraft depending on the nature of the operation in hand including CASA aircraft which was used for transporting materials and personnel, he said.
Severe weather was the most prominent challenge that faced the Police Aviation during this period. However, it continued to deliver aid and provide support. The Police Aviation is currently taking part in the efforts aimed at restoring normal life in the affected areas, Al Yahyai said.