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Oman cyclone: 1 Indian dead, 9 missing

Last updated on: June 07, 2007 19:17 IST

An Indian has died and nine are missing after Cyclone Gonu hit Oman, causing widespread destruction on Wednesday.

The Charge De Affairs at the Indian Embassy in Oman, JK Tripathi, told PTI that nine Indians were missing in the aftermath of the cyclone. The deceased Indian has been identified as Prakasan, hailing from Kerala.

The missing people have been identified as Dharmarajan, Sajit Kumar, Udayan, Sreenu, Sami, Mohd Ali and Binu. The identity of the other two missing Indians are not known yet, the Ministry said.

The Sultanate hosts 3.86 lakh Indians and the Indian government said it is trying to ascertain about their safety.

Altogether the cyclone has killed 15 people and left scores injured. About 40,000 people from Iran were evacuated as the Cyclone Gonu, the most violent tropical storm hit the Gulf region late Wednesday.

The cyclone, a rarity in the Middle East, pounded Oman's coast with violent winds and fierce rain. While 12 people were killed in Oman, three were believed to be killed in Iran.

But as the storm headed from Oman to the southeastern Iranian coast, it continued to lose steam, dropping off to tropical storm strength early Thursday, according to the US military's Joint Typhoon Warning Centre.

The storm raised fears about oil shipments in the Strait of Hormuz, where about one quarter of the world's crude oil supplies pass, although no major disruption was reported.

Meanwhile, two round-the-clock control rooms have been set up -- one in External Affairs Ministry here and another in the Indian Embassy in Muscat -- to help Indian nationals in Oman.

Those wishing to reach the Indian Embassy can contact the control room at -- 00968-24813838 and 00968-24812936. The fax number is 00968-24811607.

The control room number in Delhi is 011-23015300. The fax number is 011-23018158.

Meanwhile, a Muscat-bound flight of Oman Airways from Thiruvananthapuram has been cancelled for the second day on Thursday due to the cyclone.

According to airport sources, the passengers booked for the flight had been accommodated in hotels.

Air India's Kochi-Trivandrum-Muscat, Sharjah-Trivandrum- Kozhikode flights had been delayed in the wake of the cyclone, they said.

Services to other Gulf destinations were also slightly delayed as the air space over Oman was closed, the sources said.

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