How heavy flooding has caused havoc for people in Sharjah

One business owner estimated damage from Tuesday's storm has cost him in excess of Dh1.7 million

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Residents and business owners are facing up to significant damage to property and financial losses in the wake of the storm that swept through large parts of the UAE this week.

Most of the country was lashed by torrential rain and thunderstorms throughout Tuesday, with the weather only improving later on Wednesday.

The heavy rain triggered severe floods that resulted in several roads being blocked and forced the cancellation of numerous flights due to overflowing water.

One businessman in Sharjah estimated his losses as in excess of Dh1.7 million.

“The water just kept rising, and despite all my efforts with barriers and sandbags, it surged over the sidewalk and shattered our store's glass facade,” said Abdel Fattah Mahmoud, from Jordan, owner of Dandana Musical Instruments Establishment.

His store and warehouse, established in 1996, were flooded, with the water destroying hundreds of valuable musical instruments.

He described the chaos as rainwater mixed with sewage spread through his store, ruining prized instruments including 100 pianos with a combined value of Dh700,000.

"I called every possible number, trying to reach the municipality through landlines, WhatsApp, and toll-free numbers, but either no one answered or the lines were busy," he told The National.

Mr Mahmoud tried to hire private tankers to help clear the flooding but that also failed as they were restricted from entering the flood-hit area.

He said that with 28 years in the business, his store has been a significant supplier to schools and ministries throughout the UAE.

“But the disaster jeopardises my ability to fulfil several ongoing contracts," he said.

“I have commitments that I can't meet now, and without liquid funds to purchase new stock, I’m in a tough position."

He also spoke of his attempts to find insurance against this kind of damage being frustrated.

“Every year, I've tried to insure against such disasters, but the companies always tell me they don't offer such policies,” he said.

Mr Mahmoud also highlighted the persistent problem of passing vehicles pushing more water into shops even after the rain stopped.

“It’s an ongoing battle," he said.

Another owner of a musical instrument shop in Al Khan also suffered significant losses due to the storm.

“The water was nearly 60cm deep inside my shop and over a metre outside,” said Wagdy Wadee, owner of Al Fan Al Raqi musical instrument shop.

He shared a video of the flooded shop on social media.

The Egyptian man, who moved his business from Egypt to Sharjah just a year ago, described how the flood waters forced his shop's door open and caused extensive damage.

“I lost many invoices, documents, and valuable instruments like guitars and ouds, potentially amounting to Dh80,000," he said.

He had attempted preventive measures using sand and wooden bars, but that didn’t work.

“The force of the water broke through the glass doors. Thankfully, the neighbouring shops were empty, preventing further losses," he said.

Other residents reported damage to their homes and apartments.

Counting the damage

Salma Om Emad, an Algerian who has been resident in the UAE since 2012 and lives in Al Qasimiya, Sharjah, told The National about the ordeal her family faced when their two-bedroom apartment on King Faisal Street was inundated with water.

“It was a disaster,” she said.

“Water was flooding in from the windows and seeping through the edges of the walls.

"I called the security, but they directed me to the real estate office, which hasn’t responded to any of my calls.”

The mother of two teenagers expressed fears about the building's structural integrity.

“I had to have my children sleep in the living room because the walls felt like they could collapse at any moment,” she said.

Concerned for their safety, she turned off the electricity to prevent any potential short circuits.

“I’ve complained before about how the building looks good from the outside but feels fragile inside.”

“Even hanging curtains is a challenge because the walls can't support the weight,” she said.

Updated: April 18, 2024, 5:28 PM