Oman closes schools, ports in south while Yemen prepares for cyclone Luban

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Oman is on alert after the meteorology center upgraded Luban to tropical cyclone category one while Yemen issued a warning. (Photo courtesy/ Oman Meteorology PACA)
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Updated 11 October 2018
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Oman closes schools, ports in south while Yemen prepares for cyclone Luban

  • Health authorities in Yemen’s western province of Mahrah have taken precautionary measures
  • Oman has closed schools and ports in the southern part of the country

DUBAI: Oman has closed schools and ports in the southern part of the country while Yemen’s local authorities prepared health facilities ahead of cyclone Luban.

Health authorities in Yemen’s western province of Mahrah took precautionary measures and have called on hospitals, medical staff and emergency services to be on alert.

“We have coordinated with local authorities in preparation for cyclone Luban to ensure the safety of citizens,” the Director General of the Ministry of Public Health and Population, Awad Mubarak Saad, told Arab News.

Residents in the area have been told to stay in safe places and to avoid valleys and other areas likely to flood in anticipation of severe weather in the coming hours.

Meanwhile, the director general of Salalah port ceased all operations on Thursday morning while schools in Dhofar province were shut down. Local authorities have said that school buildings would be used as shelters if needed as fears grew of the cyclone.

A meeting was also held at Salalah airport to discuss potential impacts of Luban, Times of Oman reported.

Meteorological experts said coastal areas in southern Oman are expected to receive heavy rain and high winds, with waves reaching heights of six to eight meters.  

Luban, which is currently a category one cyclone, is likely to develop into a Category 2 cyclone within the next 48 hours, Oman’s Public Authority of Civil Aviation said on Wednesday.

Luban is traveling northwest, and cloud bands of the cyclone are currently 327 kilometers away from the coast of Oman.


Putin says Daesh has seized 700 hostages in Syria

Updated 35 min 39 sec ago
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Putin says Daesh has seized 700 hostages in Syria

SOCHI: President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Daesh militants had seized nearly 700 hostages in part of Syria controlled by US-backed forces and issued an ultimatum promising to execute 10 people every day.
Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Putin said the hostages included several US and European nationals, adding that Daesh was expanding its control in territory controlled by US and US-backed forces.
Putin did not specify what the militants' demands were.

Earlier on Thursday, UN humanitarian adviser Jan Egeland told reporters that Russia and Turkey plan to give more time for the implementation of their de-escalation deal in the Syrian province of Idlib, a “great relief” for 3 million civilians in the area.
But there were still “a million unanswered questions” about how the deal would work, and what would happen if groups designated as terrorists refused to lay down their weapons.
Speaking after a regular Syria humanitarian meeting in Geneva, Egeland said Syria’s ally Russia had confirmed that Damascus had scrapped a “very concerning” law allowing the expropriation of land and property from refugees.
Idlib and adjacent areas are the last stronghold of rebels who rose up against President Bashar Assad in 2011, and the UN has warned that a battle to restore Assad’s control over the zone could be the worst of the seven-year-old war.
Turkey and Russia’s deal set up a buffer zone running 15-20 km (9-13 miles) deep into rebel territory that originally had to be free of heavy weapons and jihadists by Monday.
“There will be more time for diplomacy,” Egeland said.
“I was heartened to hear both Russia and Turkey say they are optimistic, they can achieve much more through negotiations, and they are generally very positive on the implementation of this deal which is giving a relief, a pause in fighting, to Idlib.”
Egeland said there were 12,000 humanitarian workers in the area, and Idlib had now gone five weeks without an air raid, something he could not remember in the past three years.
In the east, however, fighting was raging around several villages inhabited by 15,000 people, including Daesh fighters and their families, who were under attack by Syrian government and Kurdish forces, and 7,000 civilians had fled.
Egeland advises UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who has spent four years trying in vain to broker a political agreement to stop the war, and who said on Wednesday he would leave in November.
Egeland said he would also leave at the end of November, saying it had been an exhausting job in addition to his role as head of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
“There will be another team,” he said. “The job is not even half done.”