x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

14 killed in Oman flash floods; 60 rescued from two hospitals

Three people were electrocuted, nine drowned and two were "crushed by heavy objects" during flooding in Oman.

MUSCAT // At least 14 people were killed and more than 200 injured after flash floods and high winds caused by a tropical storm swept through much of Oman on Wednesday and yesterday, officials with the government-run storm emergency committee said.

"So far 14 people have died in three different towns. At least 200 people suffered from various degrees of injuries," Mohammed Saleh, a member of the storm emergency committee said.

Three were electrocuted, nine drowned and two were "crushed by heavy objects".

All of the patients from two major hospitals in the capital were evacuated yesterday when water began entering the buildings.

"Police helicopters evacuated about 60 patients from Al Nahdha and Khoula hospitals. They are closed now for maintenance. The patients have been transferred to other hospitals," a police official said. He said he did not know when the hospitals would reopen.

A ministry of health official, who did not want to be identified because he is not authorised to talk to the press, said, "considerable damages have been in the two hospitals and it may cost up to 20 million rials [Dh190m] to repair".

He said the operation theatres and other equipment were damaged and that medications were destroyed.

Witnesses said cars were swept away as rainwater swept across major motorways in the country. Some drivers were forced to scramble on the roofs of their cars waiting for the water to recede.

The capital sustained the worst damage. Houses, businesses and vehicles were damaged. In the Batnah region in the north of the country, winds up to 73 kilometres per hour ruined crops and farmhouses.

The meteorological office said the weather was expected to be clear today.

In June last year, Oman was hit by cyclone Phet, which left about 50 people dead.

 

salshaibany@thenational.ae