The Royal Oman Police (ROP) and the Civil Defence and Ambulances Authority (CDAA) have urged precautions to pedestrians as well as motorists to be watchful of any water clogs, overflowing wadi and adverse situations in the wake of the inclement weather.
Accordingly, the authorities reiterated that crossing the wadis (valleys) or attempting to cross wadis or low-lying areas is a punishable offence and can invite serious repercussions of violating the law. The CDAA also urged beachgoers to exercise extreme caution and observe safety rules and guidance and to keep an eye on kids to avoid drowning incidents.
“Driving through the flash floods intentionally would attract punitive actions including fines and retention of vehicles depending upon the nature of offence. Similarly, driving across an overflowing wadi is a criminal offence and the offenders will be booked for violating the instructions issued by the ROP and the CDAA,” a CDAA spokesperson told the Observer.
He added that CDAA is closely following up with the Oman Meteorology authorities and the authority is well prepared to act accordingly.
The spokesperson further said that the majority of the drowning cases happened during the rains and there has been an increase in the number of drowning incidents and in 2022, more than 500 such incidents were reported.
"Most of the drowning incidents were reported during adverse weather conditions when people crossed wadis by walking or in vehicles, swimming in undesignated areas such as dams, water channels and water-logged areas, leaving children unattended near water surfaces, and non-abidance by the safety instructions. These would prove fatal to one's own life as well as the life of others," he said, adding that there were over 500 calls of drowning accidents that CDAA water rescue teams had to deal with.
Major reasons behind such incidents were recklessness during the rains, inattentive to earning signs at water bodies, ponds or swimming pools or sea and kids being left unattended which have contributed to the increasing number of drowning incidents in the Sultanate of Oman.
Reports suggest that children under the age of 5 are at highest risk of drowning in either wadis or water bodies and these deaths are frequently linked to daring the rains, wadis or water bodies, travelling over water on boats or ferries and fishing.
Pictures by Khalfan al Ruzaiki and ONA