UAE announces Dh2bn fund to support Emiratis affected by floods

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, sets out relief measures at Cabinet meeting

The UAE experienced record rainfall last Tuesday, leading to widespread flooding. Antonie Robertson / The National
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The UAE on Wednesday approved a Dh2 billion ($540 million) aid package to support Emiratis affected by the country's worst storms on record.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, set out the major relief effort as he chaired a meeting of the UAE Cabinet at Qasr Al Watan in Abu Dhabi.

He said the funds would be used to address damage caused to the homes and property of citizens.

He said a committee would be established to assess the damage caused by the adverse weather, which struck the Emirates last Tuesday.

"In the Council of Ministers today, we approved an amount of 2 billion dirhams to address the damage to citizens’ homes," Sheikh Mohammed wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

"A ministerial committee was assigned to follow up on this file, inventory the damage to homes, and disburse compensation in co-operation with the rest of the federal and local authorities."

Sheikh Mohammed said the extreme weather was "unprecedented in its severity" and lessons would be learned from the deluge.

He said emergency services had received more than 200,000 calls related to the heavy flooding.

The UAE was lashed by the highest single day of rainfall in 75 years, leading to widespread flooding of homes and roads and significant disruption to travel.

Deadly floods

At least three people died in the torrential rainfall which battered large parts of the country.

An Emirati man died during fierce flash flooding on Tuesday in Ras Al Khaimah.

The citizen, who was in his 70s, was killed when his vehicle was swept away by strong currents during treacherous weather in Ras Al Khaimah.

Police said the man was attempting to travel through a flooded wadi as heavy rain battered the emirate.

Emergency response teams recovered his body.

Two people suffocated in their car in Sharjah on the same day.

The incident happened after they became trapped in their car as they travelled to their homes in Sharjah.

Maj Gen Saif Al Shamsi, commander-in-chief of Sharjah Police, told The National the two were travelling along Al Wahda Street when their vehicle became stuck in a traffic jam caused by the flooding.

“At this time, the vehicle was completely sealed, which unfortunately led to the accumulation of carbon monoxide from the running air-conditioning unit” he said.

“The autopsy confirmed their death was due to carbon monoxide poisoning."

Flood response

President Sheikh Mohamed called for a quick response from authorities.

Sheikh Mohamed expressed his appreciation for the awareness and responsibility shown by people during the adverse weather, state news agency Wam reported.

He has requested that authorities quickly work on limiting the damage caused after the country witnessed its heaviest rainfall on record.

Sheikh Mohamed also asked that necessary support be provided to all families affected by the severe weather, ordering that they be moved to safe locations in co-operation with local authorities.

Economy and tourism on agenda

Ministers reviewed the nation's economic progress and a positive tourism outlook during the meeting.

Sheikh Mohammed said economic partnerships agreed with more than a dozen countries would enable the country to increase exports by Dh366bn annually by 2031.

The Prime Minister said the UAE's foreign trade for all goods in services reached Dh445bn in 2023, a record figure.

The Prime Minister revealed the number of hotel guests nationwide reached 28 million in 2023, up 11 per cent on the previous year.

Updated: April 24, 2024, 4:37 PM