Dubai: Hundreds of people living on the UAE's east coast were evacuated from their homes yesterday as Cyclone Gonu brought heavy winds and flooding.
As the tropical storm battered the east coast, President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan yesterday telephoned Their Highnesses the Rulers and Members of the Supreme Council Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi of Sharjah, and Shaikh Hamad Bin Mohammad Al Sharqi of Fujairah to inquire about the welfare of residents in storm-battered areas.
Shaikh Khalifa confirmed that all concerned organisations were ready to provide emergency assistance, and ordered resources be made available to cope with Gonu's impact.
Corniches, parks and homes on the east coast were deluged as heavy seas brought waves crashing past barriers erected to hold back the water. Some main roads were no longer passable due to the deluge
Oman got a more severe pounding, with the country's eastern areas cut off and Muscat struck by heavy winds and rain that uprooted trees and caused electricity outages and severe flooding.
Disruption to Oman's energy exports meant that the price of oil edged close to $71 a barrel.
Meteorologists described Gonu as the strongest tropical storm to hit the Arabian Peninsula in 30 years although as it was downgraded from a maximum Category Five hurricane to Category One as it moved northwards towards Iran.
The UAE Red Crescent helped evacuate about 500 people from homes in Kalba, taking them to hotels and schools. Dozens of water trucks were mobilised to deal with the huge amounts of sea water that had come ashore.
Fujairah's air and sea ports were closed and all ships were told to sail to more sheltered areas until Gonu passed through.