Muna Al-Fuzai

Cyclone Mekunu made landfall on the Arabian Peninsula with extremely severe cyclonic winds. The cyclone continues to weaken, but leaves lessons for all of us in crisis management. In the past few days, we all watched with great concern Mekunu battering Oman and causing damage. The head of the executive office of the National Committee for Civil Defense of Oman said the emergency management team evacuated 10,000 people from the province of Dhofar in record time. All sectors of the economy in Oman worked closely and effectively until the end of the crisis despite material damages.

A state of emergency was also declared in Socotra, a Yemeni island located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The government of Yemen declared Socotra a disaster area due to the damage caused by Mekunu. This became the first major cyclone to affect both Oman and Yemen in the history of recordkeeping in the Arabian Sea.

I believe that floods around the world will not stop and will keep causing humanitarian disasters, as they lead to the displacement of thousands of people who lose their homes and properties and need urgent assistance. Over the past years, hurricanes have increased in several countries, which can cause flooding due to the rush of seawater into cities or heavy rain.

As for naming the cyclone “Mekunu”, a climate professor at Saudi Arabia’s Qassim University Dr Abdullah Al-Misnad said on Twitter that the moniker came through a proposal from the Maldives. He said that it is well known that names of hurricanes that form in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean are agreed between eight countries surrounding these two bodies of water. The Maldives proposed the name “mekunu”, which is a kind of fish.

Although hurricanes occur annually and in more than one place in the world, some of them cause massive destruction. So why can’t we limit losses by hurricanes even though we know they are coming? I think that in order to reduce the impact of hurricanes, it is necessary to plan and work simultaneously before they hit to reduce the damage and injuries associated with the storms. Preparations must be made on two national levels – by individuals, as well as concentrated and effective efforts by governments and strengthening civil defense centers with manpower and equipment.

Another key element here is the media and public awareness to transfer right and accurate information from its source to prevent malicious and false rumors. Today, I don’t think we need more conferences to only talk about climate impact and global warming. It is better to create an international fund to work seriously towards the allocation of international assistance to help affected areas and people, especially the poor. I think Red Crescent societies around the world must work collectively to set an international strategy in establishing a global fund to protect families after these storms.

The issue of risk and crisis management means there must be accurate work, and I believe that these hurricanes provide us with lessons on how to deal with crises, and no one can imagine that we are completely safe.