MUSCAT:Many expatriates living in Oman from the South Indian state of Kerala were upset to hear about the closure of Cochin International Airport due to heavy rain and flooding, which disrupted their planned travel for Eid Al Adha celebrations back home.
Most of them have been eagerly waiting for a long time, some even for years, to join their families during Eid Al Adha celebrations.
However, the expats who spoke to The Arabian Stories on Friday said their financial loss and inconvenience for making alternative travel arrangements were nothing compared to the suffering of thousands of their compatriots who lost their dear ones and properties across the state in the nature’s fury.
Incessant rain in Kerala have claimed 23 lives in the past two days. Over 22,000 people have been shifted to some 315 relief camps across the state, officials said.
Till late on Thursday the toll was eight, but a fresh count took the numbers to 23 on Friday. The worst affected districts include Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kasargode and Idukki and the deaths have also been reported from these areas.
With Oman announcing nine-day Eid holiday, many passengers had booked tickets by paying high airfares to see their loved ones home. “We haven’t received any intimation from airlines flying out from Muscat to Kochi about it but with the airport now closed, I am sure I have to either cancel or postpone my trip,” said Mohammed Ismail, who booked ticket to Kochi.
Air India Express (IX445) that was supposed to fly to Kochi at 7pm on Friday has been cancelled. Meanwhile, Oman Air has asked passengers to get the updates from its website or social media platforms.