Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical storm Luban, and will probably head towards Yemen instead. (Photo courtesy: met.gov.om)
Updated 11 October 2018

Oman could escape worst of cyclone Luban but fears grow for Yemen

  • The storm is likely to develop into a category one cyclone, over the next 12 hours
  • The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen

DUBAI: Oman is on alert after the meteorology center upgraded Luban to tropical cyclone category one on Wednesday while Yemen issued a warning. 

Oman is likely to escape the worst of tropical cyclone, and will probably head towards Yemen instead, Omani forecasters said.

Meteorologists warned that heavy rainfall and strong winds would hit Oman as the storm makes landfall. And residents have been warned to take precautions.

Meanwhile, Yemen, worn by an ongoing conflict that has weakened the country’s infrastructure, will face the full force of the storm.

The weather system is approximately 290km away from the southern Oman coast and moving towards Yemen.

Oman’s Meteorology specialist, Hamood Al-Naabiya, had previously told Arab News on Tuesday that if the storm traveled towards the Gulf of Aden, the destructive effects would be less than that of Cyclone Mekunu which killed dozens in May.

In May Cyclone Mekunu ripped through the Yemeni island of Socotra, causing severe flooding, and extensive damage including six ships that sank - four at sea. Flood waters washed away thousands of animals and cut electricity and communication lines. Cyclone Mekunu then moved onto Salalah where whole areas of beach were washed away, as were roads, power cables and properties damaged.

At the end of the week, Mekunu had left 30 people dead - including a 12-year-old girl in Oman, while dozens of others were missing.

Oman subsequently announced schools in Dhofar governorate will close Thursday as a cyclone gathers strength in the Arabian Sea, five months after Cyclone Mekunu killed 11 people in the sultanate and Yemen.
“Schools will be shut as precautionary measure and to protect the students and staff... and in case residents need shelter during that time,” the education directorate in Dhofar, 950 kilometers south of Muscat, said in a statement on Wednesday.
Luban is currently considered a category one tropical cyclone.
In May, Cyclone Mekunu killed at least 11 people in southern Oman and the Yemeni island of Socotra.
The cyclone had isolated parts of Socotra island — part of a UNESCO-protected archipelago for its rich biodiversity — with the government declaring it a “disaster” zone.


Haftar, Saleh in surprise Cairo visit for crisis talks on Libya

Updated 21 min 35 sec ago

Haftar, Saleh in surprise Cairo visit for crisis talks on Libya

  • The meeting in Cairo followed a surprise visit to the Egyptian capital by Haftar and Saleh on Tuesday

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday held crisis talks with the commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, and parliament speaker, Aguila Saleh, on latest developments in the Libya conflict.

The meeting in Cairo followed a surprise visit to the Egyptian capital by Haftar and Saleh on Tuesday that coincided with a speech at the UN by El-Sisi in which he said Egypt would intervene if the “red line” provinces of Sirte and Jufra were crossed.

During Wednesday’s discussions in Cairo, held in the presence of Abbas Kamel, head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service (GIS), El-Sisi was briefed on efforts from all parties to implement a cease-fire and Libyan attempts to advance the peace process under the auspices of the UN.

According to media reports, Haftar, Saleh, and Egyptian officials would be reviewing military matters and progress on political initiatives.

The visit came within the framework of coordination and consultation talks on a number of issues, most notably the fight against terrorism, and Egyptian efforts to broker security and stability in Libya through political dialogue. Initiatives on Libya that took place in Geneva and Morocco, such as holding elections and forming a new government, were also likely to be on the agenda.

In June, Haftar and Saleh met with the Egyptian president and announced the Cairo Declaration for a cease-fire and resolution to the political crisis in Libya. Sources said their latest visit was to clarify Cairo’s position with international and Libyan parties, discuss a comprehensive solution to the Libyan crisis through international agreements, and smooth over any misunderstandings.

The unscheduled trip was due to recent developments in Libya and the intention of the Government of National Accord (GNA) to establish an army in Libya, the sources added.

Salah Al-Nimroush, minister of defense in the GNA which is headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, has announced the start of programs to build and develop his government’s army with the help of Turkey.

He also said that a military training center had been set up in the suburbs of the Libyan capital and that the priority was to build the army, according to international standards, with the young support force that participated in the defense of Tripoli.

As well as security, the subject of Libyan oil was up for discussion with the Egyptian authorities.

Last week, the Libyan army announced its agreement to reopen oil fields and resume exports on condition that guarantees were made for the fair distribution of oil revenues and the prevention of their use for funding terrorism and fueling corruption.

In a speech addressed to Libyans, Haftar said that the General Command of the army would not hesitate to make concessions as long as they were in the interests of the Libyan people, with the aim of preventing further deterioration of the economic situation in the country.