It was the photo that captured the devastation that tropical storm Ashobaa brought to parts of Oman – and at the same time encapsulated the spirit of man’s fight against nature.
Over knee deep in swirling brown water, a man battles across a flooded Wadi Shab carrying two goats to safety, one on his shoulder and the other tucked under his arm (pictured right).
With the water rising every second – as seen from the level on the lamp posts – the man was risking his life to save his animals, which, without his help, faced almost certain death. All three survived and made it to dry land.
The extraordinary image was circulated on social media across Oman and quickly became a hit, shared by thousands, many of whom praised the unknown man for his actions.
“No bigger words to express than a ‘salute’ to this man and humanity,” said one person commenting on Y’s Facebook page.
Storm Ashobaa, which had been loitering menacingly off Oman’s coast for several days, finally made land on Thursday last week.
Heavy rain lashed Sur and Masirah Island, causing widespread flooding, cutting off roads and leading to overflowing wadis. As evacuations began, 17 members of one family were plucked from their home as part of rescue operations, which saw a Royal Army of Oman helicopter called into action. Army vehicles and soldiers were also out in force, helping people to safety and sandbagging areas to hold back the murky water.
Masirah Island was hit with more rain in 48 hours – a record 239mm – than it usually receives in 24 or 36 months. Roads and hotels were closed and power went down for 18 hours.
Sur saw 57.4mm of rainfall during the two-day deluge.
Elsewhere, Quriyat received some rain, although nothing like the downpours seen in the worst hit areas. But Muscat, which had been braced for bad weather, escaped with just dark clouds and a drop in temperature.
Soon after the storm came the big clear up and diggers and trucks quickly moved in with water pumping equipment.
After 24 hours and as Ashobaa dissipated and moved away, Masirah Island and Sur were returning to normal. Within a week, it will be as if the storm never happened.