UAE floods: Businesses in Fujairah pick up the pieces and count the cost

Staff return to destroyed stock and damaged premises after shops go without electricity for three days

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Business owners in Fujairah were counting the cost of the flooding in the emirate that left a trail of destruction and forced them to close for three days.

Shops along Fujairah Corniche were among the worst hit by the floodwaters that caused shock and devastation earlier this week.

It was back to business on Saturday morning for restaurant and shop owners, who were hoping to see a return to some kind of normality, after several days of chaos caused by the deluge.

While some will be able to cover the cost of the repairs and replace damaged stock through their insurance, others told The National they would have to bear the expenses from their own pockets.

Quote
We’re open again for business but most of our customers are staying at home because of the flooding
Shihab Kadavanda, Ahla Zahra Groceries

“We had fridges, air-conditioning units damaged by about two feet [60 centimetres] of flooding across the entire store,” said Mohamed Musthafa, manager of Universal Electronics near the corniche.

“We suffered about Dh150,000 worth of damage to our stock, just from the water seeping across the main showroom and storage area.

“We were also closed for three days which was a significant loss of income as we take about Dh40,000 minimum a day on average.”

Mohamed Musthafa, manager of Universal Electronics in Fujairah, said the shop had to close for three days.  Khushnum Bhandari / The National

While the water damage to stock was covered by his company’s insurance, there was no way they would be able to recover the lost earnings, he added.

Emergency teams have been working around the clock since Tuesday night to rescue hundreds of people in various flood-affected areas of Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.

Seven people were found dead as a result of the flooding, authorities announced on Friday.

More than 800 people were rescued and thousands more were placed in temporary accommodation, after widespread flooding caused by the unseasonal summer deluge.

Unexpected trade

Abul Razzaque, owner of Sahal Mobile Phones, has been receiving several phones for repair, after the damages caused by rain in Fujairah.  Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Many of the businesses on Fujairah Corniche remained closed on Saturday, their entrances still waterlogged, making them all but impossible to reach for most customers.

However, some were open for business and determined to make up for lost earnings and time.

“We had no electricity for three days and it only came back on last night,” said Abul Razzaque, owner of Sahal Mobile Phones.

“The water was more than two feet high and it damaged a lot of equipment, especially mobile phone parts that we use for repairs.

“The damage isn’t covered by insurance so it’s going to have to be paid for by us. I reckon we’ve suffered damage around the value of Dh25,000.”

It was not all doom and gloom for Mr Razzaque though, as he said his company had picked up some unexpected trade as a result of the flooding.

“We’ve not had many customers this morning so far, but we’ve had a few who all want us to repair their phones that were damaged by the flooding,” he said.

Presod Unnithean, a technician and salesman at Eye Care Centre, said flooding damaged thousands of dirhams worth of stock at the shop in Fujairah. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

The floodwaters caused more than financial damage to another business along the corniche.

“We had a computer with most of our files on it destroyed by the flooding,” said Naranya Sami, owner of Eye Care Centre opticians.

“I estimate the damage will end up costing us about Dh10,000 in total,” including lost earnings.

When The National visited the store, staff were busy repairing water damage to dozens of spectacle cases on the front counter as well as what was left of the company’s computer.

He said it may take a few days before customers return to the shops.

“We’re open again for business but most of our customers are staying at home because of the flooding,” said Shihab Kadavanda, manager of Ahla Zahra Groceries.

“You can’t blame them. People don’t want to wade through several feet of water to get to a shop.”

'I've never seen rain like it': UAE residents return to flooded homes and submerged cars

Updated: July 31, 2022, 12:03 PM
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