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World

Life disrupted in UAE as heavy storms take toll

  • Flooding has hit many areas of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital, and cut off major roads, snarling traffic and leaving cars stranded
Published April 16, 2024
Vehicles are stranded on a flooded street following torrential rain in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai on April 16, 2024. Photo: AFP
Vehicles are stranded on a flooded street following torrential rain in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai on April 16, 2024. Photo: AFP

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is facing severe weather conditions, prompting authorities to issue a stay-at-home advisory to its residents.

Torrential rains and high winds have lashed parts of the Gulf as the death toll from storms in Oman rose to 18, many of them children.

Flights were cancelled in Dubai, the region’s financial hub, while schools were shut in the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) also advised residents to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. Motorists were urged to park their vehicles in safe, elevated locations away from flood-prone areas.

Liliea Al-Horani, Art Director at Liliea Group who travels back-and-forth between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, said emergency numbers also remained unresponsive.

“My biggest concern was that I called all the emergency numbers I know and found on Google – none of them,” she told Business Recorder via message. “My husband called the Abu Dhabi Coast Guard Station. They said we can’t send a boat (and) you have to call the police.”

On the other hand, Dubai’s skies, usually electric blue and cloudless, darkened to night-like conditions in mid-afternoon as a second storm front blew in.

Meanwhile, schools transitioned to online learning, and the weather bureau also warned of further instability with two waves of intense weather expected.

 Source: X
Source: X

This is the second stay-home advisory issued in two months, following a similar directive in March due to unstable weather conditions.

In neighboring Oman, heavy rains and flash floods claimed at least 18 lives, including nine schoolchildren and their driver whose vehicle was swept away. Rescue teams were working to locate two missing individuals.

Police and soldiers were also deployed to assist citizens in flooded areas, particularly in the hardest-hit province of Ash Sharqiyah North.

In Dubai, the rains caused massive flooding, leading to abandoned vehicles and disrupted flights at Dubai International Airport. The airport has temporarily diverted arriving flights, with departures continuing as normal.

Road closures and power outages have been reported, with tanker trucks deployed to pump away excess water. The adverse weather is expected to continue into Wednesday morning, with convective clouds bringing further rainfall and lightning.

Bahrain was also hit by heavy rain and flooding after being pummelled by thunder and lightning overnight.

The storms descended on the UAE, Bahrain and areas of Qatar after passing over Oman, where they caused deadly floods and left dozens stranded.

Fakhr Alam, a well-known personality in Pakistan, also took to Instagram to share updates.

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