Tropical cyclone heads towards Oman, forecasters warn of 135 kph gusts

Cyclone Mekunu left a path of destruction , with 30 people dead and dozens missing when swept across southern Yemen and Oman in May. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 October 2018

Tropical cyclone heads towards Oman, forecasters warn of 135 kph gusts

  • Forecasters upgrade tropical depression, warn of worsening conditions
  • Cyclone Mekunu killed 30 people and left dozens missing in May

DUBAI: Forecasters say a tropical depression 1,040 km off the coast of southern Oman has developed into a tropical cyclone.

But the India Meteorological Department warned it could develop into a severe cyclonic storm with winds gusting to 135 kph. They still do not know where it will make landfall.

Approximately 1,000 km off the coast of Oman and traveling at 20 kph, forecasters have named the storm Luban – the Arabic word for or “frankincense.”

And forecasters warned that the weather system would influence weather conditions in the area for most of the week.

The NCM has advised people to monitor weather conditions on its website and official Twitter account, and to avoid spreading rumors, the report added.

In May Cyclone Mekunu ripped through southern parts of Yemen and Oman, leaving a path of destruction, with 30 people dead and dozens more missing.

The cyclone caused flash floods that tore away sections of road in Salalah, leaving motorists stranded – rooves and shop fronts were ripped away by fierce winds, while power cables and street lighting were knocked to the floor.

(With AP)

Images of starving lions in Sudan zoo spark global concern

Updated 1 min 17 sec ago

Images of starving lions in Sudan zoo spark global concern

  • “This is actually a crime,” a local activist said, adding that the park once teemed with animals

KHARTOUM: At an impoverished, forlorn zoo in Sudan’s capital, the park’s few remaining lions are starving in rusted cages — their ribs protruding, eyes glassy and skin flaccid, desperate for food and water.
The unsettling images, shared on social media by a local animal rights advocate, drew impassioned responses from thousands around the world. But it wasn’t enough to save two lionesses at the Khartoum zoo, said local activist Zuhair Al-Sarag.
“This is actually a crime,” he said, adding that the park once teemed with animals. “Someone should be held accountable.”
With the staff at the destitute Al-Qurashi Park, as the zoo in Khartoum is known, unable to feed and look after the animals, many have died off or were evacuated, leaving only three skeletal lions, including a lioness.
Locals concerned about the fate of the lions flocked to help recently, bringing food and medical items, despite the economic crisis gripping the country. Soaring food prices in Sudan triggered a mass protest movement last year that convulsed the large African country, ultimately ousting longtime autocrat Omar Al-Bashir in April.
Months later, a civilian-military transitional council replaced Al-Bashir’s rule, and inherited its problems, including $60 billion in debt, rebellions in far-flung provinces and the country’s longtime status as a global pariah.
Price hikes and economic hardship have caused animals to suffer, too.
“Many international organizations are willing to help” the lions, including an emergency rescue group expected in Sudan soon, said Osman Mohamed Salih, the first activist who appealed for help online.
While many abroad have tried to donate via crowdfunding sites, Salih noted that US sanctions on Sudan have prevented the zoo from receiving funds through popular platforms, such as GoFundMe. There was no immediate response from GoFundMe.
Sudanese Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok, formerly a World Bank economist, has made it his mission to get the United States to drop its designation of Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism, so that the country can attract badly needed foreign aid and investment. The economic troubles are testing the government during its fragile transition to democracy.
“Despite all of this, the marathon of recovery, healing and redevelopment ... continues,” Salih, the activist, wrote on Facebook.
On Wednesday, he shared a photograph of the remaining lioness after volunteers had brought food, saying she was making “beautiful progress.”