Muscat – Shops and kiosks at Al Qurm Complex remained closed as cleanup operations to remove accumulated rainwater and mud continued for the second day on Tuesday following Shaheen.
The severe cyclonic storm left Muscat city battered. Lives were lost and property damaged following heavy rains and strong winds. Al Qurm Complex was inundated and suffered severe losses.
Masood Ali, who works in a shoe shop in the complex, said, “We have been cleaning up for over two days now. Our losses are over thousands of rials. Many of our shoes were ruined by the floodwaters and mud, and will have to be thrown away. We managed to save some pairs of shoes before the floodwaters rushed in. There was knee-high water.”
Though the water has now been drained out, interiors of the shops remained wet and damp. The shops, selling perfumes, foodstuff, accessories and goods for pets, besides shoes, claimed their losses run into thousands of rials.
Mustafa, who works in a perfume shop in the complex, said he hadn’t expected the rains to be so heavy. “Though it wasn’t as bad as Gonu in 2007, we still suffered losses. I think the authorities need to re-think the layout of the complex as it is very prone to flooding. The drainage system needs to be re-worked.”
Ali K Daud, owner of Al Daud Restaurants, licensee of McDonald’s in Oman, said, “There was damage to our kitchen equipment, signage, seating and servers. But we hold extra equipment for emergencies and so we were able to mobilise our maintenance team and the cleaning team to enable us to be back in operation as fast as possible. We are open now.”
Daud said it is ‘difficult to manage and be fully prepared for any cyclone’.
“There will always be damage. But there are some measures the authorities are taking such as building more dams and removing obstacles in the path of wadis, etc. That should help when it’s completed. We like to see the authorities ready to clean up general, residential and commercial areas the day after in order to bring life back to normal as fast as possible.”
According to Hani Mirza, managing director, Bin Mirza International’s, restaurants in the area were impacted by the cyclone. “But we had a contingency plan in place and thanks to the fast actions of our teams, we were able to mitigate a lot of damage and as such, open our doors the very next day.”
He extended Bin Mirza International’s gratitude to the authorities for their efforts in protecting the community during Shaheen. “They really were our heroes in our time of need.”