Cyclone Mekunu: Oman braced for massive storm

Thousands moved away from coastal and low-lying areas as the most powerful storm to hit Oman approaches.

Cyclone Mekunu has made landfall in Oman, bringing strong winds and torrential rains on to the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.

A 12-year-old girl was the sixth casualty of the storm, as it hit the coastal city of Salalah with winds of up to 185 kilometres an hour.

Thousands of Omanis have sought shelter on higher ground and in hotels reinforced with flood defence measures.

At least five other people were killed when the storm devastated the Yemeni island of Socotra on Thursday, with dozens of others missing.

Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall reporting from Salalah in Oman said that many drivers were caught unaware and had to contend with rapidly rising waters.

“The streets of Salalah are flooded with heavy rains and high wind, even though the epicentre of the storm is some 80km from the area,” he said.

A video shared by the Oman Observer news outlet showed flood waters overcoming the Wadi Sahalnoot damn near Salalah. Al Jazeera could not immediately verify the authenticity of the footage.

Others shared images of shipyards being rocked by winds, as waves crashed into docked vessels.

Omani government officials have issued safety pamphlets in multiple languages to cater for the country’s large foreign worker population and have opened up schools and other government offices for use as emergency shelters.