Omani operators clear up after Gonu

Nearly two weeks after cyclone Gonu struck Oman, mobile operator Nawras has said it has now restored around 98% of its service to normal.

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By  Michele Howe Published  June 19, 2007

Nearly two weeks after cyclone Gonu struck Oman, mobile operator Nawras has said it has now restored around 98% of its service to normal.

The operator said some 30% of its base stations were affected by the storm, which wreaked havoc on the country earlier this month.

"Only one or two base stations were significantly damaged. The rest were all out due to transmission or power or both," CEO Ross Cormack told ITP.net. "The team worked flat out. We now have some 96-97% maybe even 98% of service restored."

He described the storm as ‘tremendous turmoil'. "There were winds of up to 400km an hour that suddenly hit our network followed by enormous floods. We had a vast amount of rain in a very short time which cascaded down mountains and took whole houses and buildings with it," he said.

The network experienced some outages, he said, with around 220 base stations affected, although a pre-existing disaster recovery plan helped minimise the impact of the damage.

Nawras's rival Oman Mobile also experienced problems due to power and electricity cuts in most of the damaged areas, according to a report in the Oman Observer.

"Our team has been working round the clock with the aim to reach the damaged areas as fast as possible," Sami bin Ahmed al Ghassani, division head of networks in Oman Mobile told the newspaper.

"The team faced power and electricity cuts in most of the damaged areas but as they were trained to face and handle problems instantly, we were able to overcome this hurdle and provide service to the affected areas," he added.

He said the operator, a cellular subsidiary of Omantel, used twenty mobile generators until electricity was restored.

Omantel has not yet released specific details of the damage to its networks and did not respond to an interview request from ITP.net.

Cyclone Gonu struck Oman on June 6, battering its coast for three days and leaving around 50 people dead.

At its peak, Gonu was measured as a maximum-force Category Five hurricane.

The storm is believed to have been the strongest to hit the Gulf since 1977.

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