Pinoys in Saudi advised to prepare for cyclone ‘Mekunu’


MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has advised all Filipinos in Saudi Arabia to prepare for tropical cyclone “Mekunu” that is expected to make landfall in the western region of the kingdom late Saturday (Saudi time).

The warning comes following an advisory issued by the Philippine Consulate General in Jeddah to members of the Filipino community, especially those in Najran and surrounding areas.

“We would like to advise our kababayans in the Western region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially those residing in Najran and nearby areas, to prepare for torrential rains, possible flashfloods and decreased visibility as tropical cyclone ‘Mekunu’ makes landfall in some parts of the Kingdom tonight (Saturday),” the advisory from the Consulate read.

According to Consul General Edgar Badajos, the Saudi General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection (GAMEP) has predicted heavy rains for some parts of the kingdom from Saturday until Tuesday.

Badajos said GAMEP also predicts the rain will be accompanied by active wind and dust leading to a lack of horizontal visibility in Najran, especially in Al Kharkhir area.

Dust brought about by the winds is also expected to reduce visibility over Tabuk, Madinah, Makkah, Sharqiyah and Riyadh.

Rainy clouds are further expected over Jizan, Asir and Al Baha region.

Consul General Badajos said there are an estimated 8,000 Filipinos in Najran; 15,000 in Johann; and 13,000 in Khamis Mushayt.

The Saudi Civil Defense has advised the public to stay away from streams and torrents of valleys in areas to be affected by heavy rains.

Earlier on Saturday, ‘Mekunu’ battered Oman and Yemen, leaving at least three dead and 40 missing.

Those who may need assistance as a result of the storm may call the Saudi Civil Defense through 998 or the Consulate’s hotline 0555219613, DFA said. Joyce Ann Rocamora/