Just as Cyclone Phet decided to lower its rage to a Category 2 Tropical Storm from the horrfic Category 4 Cyclone it was two days ago, the rains and wind have started to kick in Oman’s Capital Muscat, causing flash floods and some expected disruption.
One of the first things to usually disappear in every crisis is communication. In the case of Oman’s Phet, it was the Satellite TV receivers (dish) that started to fail viewers due to the harsh winds leaving people with only radio and internet.
Without news channels covering the Cyclone, people turned to the internet as a source of information, luckily so did Oman’s satellite channel by broadcasting their live yet modest coverage online which we heard about from no other than twitter.
Other services like Interceder provided an overview of world coverage of Phet including video, news articles and tweets one could get a sense of security from merely refreshing the page and consuming the data.
Twitter was its usual source of information from all over the country, people would be tweeting about everything from weather conditions to electricity outages and flooded roads during very unstable circumstances that continue to go on possibly until tomorrow morning.
New Media has done it again, proving that in times of crisis it remains a reliable source of news and comfort for victims and concerned individuals alike.
Sadly Omani official civil defense and media have yet to fully take advantage of the world’s new source of real time news, which we hope will change if god forbid an opportunity presents itself in the future.
Ahmad Al-Shagra, reporting from Muscat, Oman.