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Taps go dry in Muscat

After being deluged by killer cyclone Gonu, Muscat residents yesterday struggled to find drinking water as temperatures climbed above 30 degrees Celsius.

  • By Sunil K. Vaidya, Bureau Chief
  • Published: 23:38 May 3, 2009
  • Gulf News

Muscat: After being deluged by killer cyclone Gonu, Muscat residents yesterday struggled to find drinking water as temperatures climbed above 30 degrees Celsius.

"There's not a drop of water for the last two days in our house and in the area around us," Shobha Khimji, a resident of upscale Medinat Qaboos area said.

People were seen taking water from swimming pools as well as from the flooded wadis as taps went dry in most areas of the capital.

The water supply by the Muscat Municipality has been badly affected in Ghubra, Ghala, Al Khuwair, Medinat Qaboos, Medinat Al Alam and the other areas in the north. "There was a damage to water pipelines in Ghubra close to the water desalinisation plant," said Yahya Sueilmani, a resident of Ghubra.

"We have rationed supply of tanker water as the demand has far exceeded our capacity to supply," Mohammad Shambe, a tanker driver told Gulf News yesterday.

Meanwhile, some people tried to cash in on the demand and charged double the amount for a water tanker. There were also reports about smaller supermarkets charging almost eight times more for a mineral water bottle.

National Mineral Waters began distribution of water from their Ghala depot but were inundated with requests for water. "We have had over 10,000 requests within hours of announcing the supply," a spokesman for the company said. The food supply was another problem with residents besieging the city's two biggest retail chains like LuLu Hypermarkets and Carrefour Hypermarket. "The supply from wholesalers to the retailers is badly affected," Shanavaz Ahmad, General Manager Abdul Fatah Mohammad Noor Co LLC, a major supplier of foodstuff, vegetables and fruits in the market told Gulf News yesterday.

Road links

"It is difficult to resume supply due to damaged road links, lack of staff, drivers and closure of ports and airport," he pointed out.

With short supply, prices went up, including that of bakery items. "There are no fresh vegetables, meat, eggs, or fish at the moment in the market and it would take days before fresh food could come into the retail market," he says.

Fuel was also rationed as most fuel stations were giving only 20 litres of petrol to consumers, who were taking fuel in jerry cans as their vehicles were either stranded or broken roads links prevented them to drive to a petrol station.

"We have sourced water from Dubai and we hope to meet heavy demand here now," A. V. Ananth, Oman Regional Manager for LuLu Hypermarkets told Gulf News yesterday.

The country's air space, however, was opened yesterday so was the port in Sohar but major road links remained broken down, cutting off one part of the country from another.

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