Last week Oman braced for the impact Cyclone Shaheen. Initially, it was predicted to hit Muscat head on, but veered north and hit the coastline about an hour west of Muscat in an area called Suwaiq. But before making landfall, for 20 hours or so, Muscat received consistent heavy rain and winds. Streets were flooded, wadis that run through the city filled with water and rose to dangerous levels. Mud, even now a week later, still fills many streets and parking lots. One child was swept away in a flash flood and a mountainside slid down and killed some migrant workers. In Muscat, it could have been much worse had the cyclone hit us directly.
Al Amana Centre and staff faired well. Asok, our groundskeeper, kept up a valiant struggle to keep things as dry as possible. The only significant damage was further erosion of retaining wall, that has been on the repair list but is now moved to a higher priority, and our sunshade in the parking lot, which can be fixed and won’t need full replacement. Staff are all safe and their homes, while leaky during the storm, suffered no major damage.
Others in Oman, in places like Al Khaboura, Al Suwaiq, and Al Mussunah, did not fair well. Flooding there was much more extensive. Many, many people lost everything. Houses, cars, farms, and, most tragically, loved ones were washed away in the flood waters. An area that usually only sees 4 inches of rain a year, received over 12 inches in just hours. Clean up will take a long time, and some things will never be recovered. As of one week later, electricity and sanitation are still not restored. Our prayers go out to the people who took the brunt of this storm.
Oman has had a rapid response. The government quickly organized a relief campaign and is helping people build back. Community groups and individuals are organizing themselves to go help dig out the streets and homes. People from all over Oman came to help in ways big and small. Businesses are donating food, blankets, and other needed supplies. Banks are donating money and are offering interest free loans to help the people recover. Aid is being given to those in need, whether they are citizens or expatriate workers.
The Omani people are sharing what they have too. Clothes, household items, and other necessities are all being organized to help the people hardest hit. Al Amana Centre, has over the last few years collected some extra appliances as staff have moved out of country. We have be saving them “for later” or “in case we might need them” but now will be donating them to people in need.
Al Amana Centre is part of the Omani community, and we too will give out of our abundance, trusting that when we have a need, God will provide through the gifts of others to us.
If you would like to donate to the recovery efforts please go to: Donations Portal For Charitable Organizations Sultanate of Oman (donate.om)
Please keep the people of Oman in your prayers as we recover together.
Prayers of blessing and peace,
The Al Amana Centre staff.