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Sat 16 Jun 2007 12:00 AM

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Cost of Gonu rebuild will run into millions

The cost of reconstructing Oman after last week's Cyclone Gonu is set to run into millions of dollars.

The cost of reconstructing Oman after last week's Cyclone Gonu is set to run into millions of dollars.

According to a developer operating in the country, most of the damage was done to roads and infrastructure, along with building projects under construction.

"The damage has been quite extensive to the infrastructure with widespread destruction of roads and bridges that could cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but the authorities are working round the clock to try and get things back to normal," said Amer Al Fadhil, vice president - external affairs, The Wave, Muscat - one of the largest waterfront developments in Oman.

"Oman is focusing on three aspects at the moment. The first priority is relief operations to those who need it, with The Wave also sending out basic necessities across Muscat. The second is the clean-up, while the third is, of course, the reconstruction."

Roads and bridges have suffered extensive damage and the city has turned into a mini-lake due to water logging in many areas.

Muscat's terrain is mountainous with wadis (dried up river beds), which are used as residential and commercial space. Due to these low-lying areas, rain and seawater brought in by the storm caused severe flooding of the wadis, resulting in parts of roads and bridges being swept away as well as buildings being submerged.

"Most of the damage has been to the infrastructure," said David Skinner, regional manager, Carillion Alawi, Oman.

"A section of a road outside the Seeb Airport that is being constructed by us was washed out but we started repairs on the morning after the storm [Thursday 7 June] and worked round the clock to get it functional by 5am on Saturday [9 June]."

The most affected areas have been Al Hubra, Qurum and Amerat, which has been totally cut off due to the collapse of its only highway connection.

Other roads that have been affected are Al Khodh and Southern Marbela, while storm waters that tore through a wadi ripped open the Qurum high road to Darsait.

A McDonald's restaurant on the edge of Wadi Aday in Qurum was almost completely submerged by the flood waters along with Qurum Park, a popular recreational area near the shore.

Muscat Municipality chairman, Abdullah Bin Abbas, said that the city has been devastated due to the cyclone but will soon be back on track.

"We are doing our best to restore city life back to pre-Gonu days," he said.

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