Times News Service
They were told that tidal waves stirred by Tropical Cyclone Gonu would strike them but alas it was not the sea that brought sorrow but the wadi waves that washed away their dreams and their livelihoods.
This is the story of Quriyat Wilayat during Cyclone Gonu where the people were least prepared for overflowing wadis that engulfed their houses and rendered them homeless and hopeless.
Apart from parts of Quriyat, other villages which bore the brunt of the cyclone effects include Hail Al Ghaf, Daghmar, Hajr, Mujara, Sahal and Mala etc.
The worst affected seem to be Hail Al Ghaf and Daghmar.
Speaking to Times of Oman, many victims of the cyclone recalled that they were warned to stay as far away from the coast as possible for fear of tidal waves.
Apparently nobody reckoned with the danger that flowed fast and furious in the form of wadi waters which gushed down from the mountains and swept away everything.
“We did not know what to do when the wadi water began to enter our house. We climbed the terrace of the building and stayed there more than 11 hours, drenched in the rain and shivering with cold,” said one resident recounting the terrifying moments.
There were 15 others who were stranded along with him in this condition with a prayer and a hope that water would not rise more than that.
Heavy infrastructural damage was visible everywhere just like in the capital area of Muscat. Most of the roads were either buried in tons of mud and sand or were washed away, power lines, cables were strewn all across the roads and wadis, houses were damaged and vehicles of all kinds were destroyed.
The first inkling you get of the damage and destruction wrought by the cyclone hits you when you cross the Wadi Adei roundabout and enter the road to Quriyat.
The road is seen in bits and parts for the first 10 kms, the rest is make-shift dirt tracks. Only mangled remains of the tarred road remain, reminiscent of a World War II scene.
After, Al Amerat, the road remains in its original condition, till you descend the highway from the mountain.
Immediately after the welcome board to Quriyat, the gravel track acting as a bridge between the cut portions of the road makes you feel unwelcome.
And then, the 30 minute-drive to Daghmar, around 12 kms from Quriyat, is itself an ordeal for fear of the saloon car’s suspension system snapping into two while negotiating the wet and dirt tracks.
But this is nothing compared to the scenes of the people who are literally been thrown out of their homes by nature’s fury.
Mud and sand churned up by the overflowing wadis gushed into their houses making them completely inhabitable.
Thus furniture, rugs, carpets, valuables and everything else found inside a house was out on the street and only the mud is piled up inside, in some cases as high as 3 feet.
Many of the affected people have been shifted to relief camps while those who preferred to stay near their homes received relief materials constantly.
The convoys of relief material going towards Quriyat are the only saving grace to erase the memories of the actual horror that struck the areas in and around this wilayat.
Private and charitable organisations like Dar Al Atta, besides many individuals have been going to Quriyat with all sorts of relief materials.
The government of the Sultanate of Oman has already touched base with the victims. This was seen in the praises heaped upon His Majesty The Sultan by the residents of the villages everywhere.
When asked about their welfare, the people thanked His Majesty The Sultan and glorified Oman.
Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy has been sending relief material like beds, mattresses, blankets, rugs etc to the Indian expatriates who were rendered homeless.
More than 300 Indians have been housed in a primary school and are being supplied with food, water and other essential items.
Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who form a major chunk of expatriates living in and around Quriyat were also seen taking essential items from military vehicles which were reaching most of the areas.
Labels: Tropical Cyclone Gonu