Rains pose challenge to rebuilding washed-out roads, deliver relief

MUSCAT, May 28 – Damaged roads pose a challenge for communications in Dhofar, especially as the road to Mugsayl continues to be under water isolating western part of the governorate. Since Cyclone Mekunu, Rakhyout and Dhalkout continue to be isolated. The non-stop flow of the wadi between Thamrait and Haima forced the Royal Oman Police (ROP) to close the traffic on the route. The road between Marmul and Thamrait was also blocked due to water flow through desert areas. The other roads that have been closed are Hasik–Shuwaymiyah, Al Mazyouna-Thamrait, Raysut-Shahab Asaeib and Taqah-Mirbat.
Relief operations in Dhofar depend on the road network, but the rains continue to hinder the repair of roads. “All the teams from different authorities have been trying to restore the services. We were able to open some of the blocked roads, but with the continuous rains all of these efforts have been unsuccessful until today. However, we managed to fly relief items, water, technical and medical supplies to Rakhyout and Dhalkout that has been isolated for the last three days,” explained Lt Col Faisal al Hajri, Director of National Emergency Management Centre, while giving an update on operations.
As of now the relief goods have been transported by big trucks of the army and the fleet of eight-wheeled trucks of the ROP.
The road to Mirbat and Taqah is important not just for transporting relief materials, but also for fixing water system, electricity and supply of mobile generators.
For Rakhyout and Dhalkout the relief materials were airlifted as the winds weakened. “We are able to do so whenever the weather permits. So everyone has been on a standby mode, including the helicopters and we were fortunate to have been able to conduct these operations today,” said Lt Col Al Hajri.
In regard to Sadah, caravans of trucks filled with relief items continued moving back and forth between Salalah and Sadah and to Mirbat.
Adnoub bridge links critical areas of the wilayat, but the damage caused by the storm is highly significant, Lt Col Al Hajri pointed out.
The wadis continue to be highly active, challenging the technical teams to complete their tasks. “Overall, we have been able to achieve our target after 72 hours of the cyclone. We are hoping the wadis will slow down so we can have our trucks going from Raysut to Mugsayl to the western part of the governorate. The wadi has separated Rakhyout and Dhalkout from the rest of the governorate.
“We are also using ships and wooden dhows to transport the relief items. Along with vessels of the Royal Navy of Oman, some fishermen have also come forward with their dhows to transport relief. I am proud to say we have seen a lot of community commitment while dealing with the aftermath of the storm. We are very grateful to the private sector, volunteers and those who have come forward to provide not just food items, but also transportation, water tanks, dhows, etc. It is a team work,” explained Lt Col Al Hajri.

Lakshmi Kothaneth