Luban downgraded to tropical storm, but Omanis warned of flash foods

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Luban has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but concerns still exist over localized flooding. (Supplied)
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Luban had been expected to gain strength, but has weakened in last 24 hours. (Supplied)
Updated 13 October 2018

Luban downgraded to tropical storm, but Omanis warned of flash foods

  • Cyclone Luban is downgraded to a tropical storm, but still poses risk to life
  • Flash floods expected in southern Oman with up to 200 mm of rainfall predicted in two days

DUBAI: Cyclone Luban has been downgraded to a tropical storm, but the Oman Metrological Center warned that there could still be flash flooding in southeastern parts of the country.

Evacuations in Salalah and the surrounding area had begun in the previous two days as Luban had been expected to strengthen from a category 1 to category 2 cyclone, but on Saturday wind speeds had dropped to 40kmh.

“The storm has been downgraded, but we are still expecting between 100 to 200 mm of rainfall in southeastern Oman over the next 24 hours,” a Oman Met office spokesman explained.

He said there would likely be flashfloods in the wadis and that the winds would remain “very strong.”

There have already been evacuations in Sadah as the coastal town prepared itself for flooding. It is also likely that there will be some evacuation in Oman’s third largest city of Salalah.

“The winds are still strong enough to cause trees to fall and other structural damage, so there is a risk to life.”

He said low lying areas and wadis should be avoided because of the high risk of flash floods.

However he said the storm was moving west and is likely to make landfall in Yemen by Sunday morning.

Meanwhile a spokesman for the Civil Defense Sub-Committee in Dhofar confirmed to national daily, Times of Oman, that an evacuation had been issued for people living in eastern parts of the governorate.

“Citizens and residents in the eastern areas of the governorate should avoid low areas and move to highlands. Expectations of rising water levels in the coming hours due to heavy rains,” a notice from the authority said.

Schools and ports in the southern part of Oman were closed on Thursday while Yemen’s local authorities prepared health facilities ahead of the storm.

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

In May Cyclone Mekunu left a trail of destruction as it 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 a way, 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.


Lebanese patriarch warns of crisis without a government after Adib steps down

Updated 27 September 2020

Lebanese patriarch warns of crisis without a government after Adib steps down

  • Al-Rai said Adib’s resignation had ‘disappointed citizens, especially the youth’
  • Frustration at Adib’s failure to form government was voiced by Lebanon’s religious communities

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s top Christian cleric said on Sunday the nation faced “multiple dangers” that would be hard to weather without a government, speaking a day after the prime minister-designate quit following his failed bid to form a cabinet.
Mustapha Adib stepped down on Saturday after hitting a roadblock over how to make appointments in the sectarian system, striking a blow to a French initiative that aimed to haul the nation out of its deepest crisis since its 1975-1990 civil war.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who had pressed Lebanon’s fractious politicians to reach a consensus so that Adib was named on Aug. 31, is to due to speak about the crisis in a news conference in Paris later on Sunday.
Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rai, leader of the Maronite church, Lebanon’s biggest Christian community, said Adib’s resignation had “disappointed citizens, especially the youth, who were betting on the start of change in the political class.”
Many top politicians, both Christian and Muslim, have held sway for years or even decades. Some are former warlords.
Rai said Lebanon now had to navigate “multiple dangers” without a government at the helm.
Rai’s comments were echoed on the streets of Beirut, where mass protests erupted in 2019 as years of mismanagement, corruption and mounting debts finally led to economic collapse, paralysing banks and sending the currency into freefall.
“There needs to be fundamental change. We need new people. We need new blood,” said 24-year-old Hassan Amer, serving coffee from a roadside cafe in the capital, which was hammered by a huge port blast on Aug. 4 that killed almost 200 people.
In nearby streets, walls were still plastered with graffiti from the protests, including the popular call for sweeping out the old guard: “All of them means all of them.”
Frustration at the failure of Adib, a Sunni Muslim, to form a government was voiced by many across Lebanon’s religious communities. Prime ministers under Lebanon’s sectarian power-sharing system must be Sunnis.
A senior Shiite Muslim cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan, said on Saturday Adib’s resignation as the economy collapsed could “be described as a disaster,” calling for national unity to deliver reforms, the state news agency reported.
The cabinet formation effort stumbled after Lebanon’s two main Shiite groups, Amal and the heavily armed Iran-backed Hezbollah, demanded they name several ministers, including finance, a key role as the nation draws up a rescue plan.
Saad Al-Hariri, a former prime minister and leading Sunni politician, said in a statement he would not be involved in naming any new premier and said the French plan was “the last and only opportunity to halt Lebanon’s collapse.”
A French roadmap laid out a reform program for a new government to help trigger billions of dollars of international aid.