The death toll from Cyclone Gonu rose to 70 on Saturday when Iranian state media reported nine new deaths from the storm that swept across Oman and Iran last week. A rarity in this arid part of the world, the storm raised fears of a disruption to oil exports from the Middle East, which pumps over a quarter of the world's oil.
The strongest tropical storm recorded in the Gulf region since 1945, the cyclone left at least 30 people dead in Oman, while 40 people lost their lives in Iran. The death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue workers reach remote areas isolated by flooding.
Cyclone Gonu was first observed by satellite on June 4 approaching the northeastern shore of Oman, a region better known for hot desert conditions.
The storm then had reached a dangerous Category 4 status, and was forecast to graze Oman’s northeastern shore, following the coastline of the Gulf of Oman. Gonu peaked as a maximum force Category 5 hurricane on Tuesday.
On fears of a disruption to oil exports, crude oil prices rose to around $71 a barrel on Thursday. But prices stabilized near $65 a barrel on news over the weekend that Cyclone Gonu had spared major oil installations, easing supply worries.