Muscat, The fifth meeting of the Ministerial Committee tasked with assessing the damages incurred to citizens’ homes and properties by the recent tropical cyclone /Shaheen/ was held at the Finance Ministry today.

The meeting was chaired by Sultan Salim Al Habsi, Minister of Finance, Chairman of the Financial and Economic Committee emanating from the Council of Ministers.

At the meeting, members of the Ministerial Committee and heads of sectors at the National Committee for Emergency Management (NCEM) looked into the outcome of progress reports on measures to bring back life to normal and restore infrastructure and services.

The Ministerial Committee approved a six-month deferment of housing loans (of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning) for the segment of citizens whose areas took the brunt of the cyclone in the wilayats of Al Musanna, A’Suwaiq, Al Khabourah and Saham.

The Ministerial Committee studied an offer presented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning about lands, properties and course of wadis affected by the cyclone and the Ministry’s proposals to tackle the impacts.

The Ministerial Committee instructed the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning to coordinate (with other departments concerned) to draft unified layouts that demonstrate the geographical nature of the Sultanate of Oman.

According to the instructions, the courses and boundaries of wadis should be made clear so that they could be circulated to the government departments concerned to avoid similar future perils.

The Ministerial Committee also demanded the revision of existing and yet-to-be-distributed residential layouts in the stricken wilayats. It instructed the suspension of distribution of land plots in wadis and high-risk areas. The committee also called for speeding up tasks to clear the course of wadis, open drainage channels, provide embankments alongside wadis to diminish flood risks, distribute roles among the departments concerned and to generalize the experiment in all coastal wilayats.

About action to address the damages incurred by dams, aflaj, fishing harbours, farms and fishing areas, the Ministerial Committee awarded tasks for the maintenance of 8 dams and 55 aflaj. Steps are underway to finalize other maintenance issues.

The Ministerial Committee also looked into the reports of the engineering team tasked with internal road repairs and devise technical specifications to temper wadi flooding. The committee decided that the proposed solutions be implemented in three stages (short, medium and long-term) and said that it would review the results in its next meeting.

The Chairman of the Ministerial Committee thanked all parties for their contribution to restore normalcy to affected areas.

Source: Oman News Agency