New Year storm leaves some Dubai homes with collapsed roofs and water damage

Maintenance companies inundated with calls after heavy rain

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Collapsed ceilings, leaking doors and blocked drains was among the damage caused to some homes after a New Year storm struck Dubai.

Home repair companies have been inundated with calls after more than a year's worth of rain fell over three days. One said it had 100 call-outs over three days.

Among the worst hit are the desert villa communities close to Al Qudra where 141.8mm of rain fell since December 30 and January 1. That compares to the 100mm average rainfall in the Emirates each year.

Fadi Halwani, who lives in Mira Oasis, said water leakage caused his gypsum false ceiling above his first floor landing to cave in.

It’s really bad. We have received nearly 100 calls daily in the past three days, mainly from residents in new villa communities
Khalid Mohammed, ATS Maintenance Services

Both the developer and a waterproofing supplier assured him it was of sound quality after previous storms - but it quickly collapsed when the downpour began.

“We have had bad waterproofing from the roof for as long as we have been here," he said.

"It would always leak when we had the ACs cleaned. We raised complaints and they did the waterproofing on the roof, but not well. It hasn't really rained since we moved in so we weren't sure how it would hold if it did.

"Luckily no one was hurt when the roof fell."

Mhorag Fernie, 48, another resident of Mira Oasis, woke to find her house had not escaped the storm unscathed.

"Two of us live in a three-bedroom villa. One bedroom flooded completely, the ceiling in the dining room has cracked and is leaking, and the roof access hatch has partially collapsed," she said.

"We've had a company out to unblock the drains but there was nothing they could do about the roof. We're not coping at all."

Stacey Ameen, 33, said she faced similar problems last year when it rained.

"The villa was still under warranty so the developer fixed it, saying we shouldn't have any more problems. But we have leaks from almost all windows, the ceiling in the study, the roof hatch, and a crack on the wall by the stairs," Ms Ameen said.

Some residents took to Twitter to share photos as they took stock of damage caused by the rain.

Zeina El Khoury, another resident in the community, said she was left without power for almost two days now.

"We had water leaking inside the fuse box from the roof. It was a big disaster. Twice the electricity short-circuited with a bang, meaning we have no electricity for two days, and no water because the pump isn't working.

Khalid Mohammed, the owner of ATS Maintenance Services, told The National that he has been inundated with calls in the past few days.

“It’s really bad. We have received nearly 100 calls daily in the past three days,” he said.

“It’s mainly from residents in some new villa communities.

“People have called us to fix short circuits and leaking ceilings. In some cases, a section of the gypsum ceiling has fallen down.”

Mohammed Hassan, manager at Imran Gul Technical Services, said he had received more than 30 calls a day since Friday.

“The problem is that no waterproofing was done on the roofs of these houses,” he said.

“There are companies that specialise in that and residents should get it done to avoid problems in the future.”

Other maintenance companies, such as We Will Fix It and Fixperts, also said that the number of calls they have received has gone up in the past few days because of the rains.

But older communities in the city, where many residents have already done waterproofing on the roofs, were relatively problem free.

Our community management team is working 24/7 to assist you. I'm personally overseeing their progress and we assure you all units will be covered
Mohamed Alabbar, Emaar Properties

“It wasn’t as bad as people may assume, at least not in The Springs, Meadows and The Lakes area, which are the oldest Emaar properties,” said Rahul Jaiswal, owner of Handyman Guru.

“We received more than six calls a day and an equal number of messages. We fixed two issues in Mira.

“But they were more of a short-circuit problem rather than ceilings caving in. Residents are used to it now and know how to cope. Didn’t read much on Facebook groups about flooding and leaks.”

On Sunday, Mohamed Alabbar, managing director of Emaar Properties, assured property owners and tenants that their problems will be resolved.

"Dear valued Emaar tenants, our community management team is working 24/7 to assist you. I'm personally overseeing their progress and we assure you all units will be covered," he wrote on Twitter.

The National Centre of Meteorology forecasts unsettled weather until Thursday, January 6.

About a year's worth of rain – 99.2mm – fell in Saih Al Salam in Dubai in the first eight and half hours of 2022, the NCM said.

The area is home to Al Qudra Lakes, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park and Bab Al Shams Desert Resort and Spa.

The NCM is predicting cloudy conditions in most of the country on Monday and Tuesday with chances of rain, lightning, thunder and hail in some areas.

On Wednesday and Thursday there will be fewer clouds and the weather will be partly cloudy to cloudy at times, with a chance of light to moderate rain over some coastal and northern areas, with a significant drop in temperatures, the NCM said.

Updated: January 03, 2022, 6:17 AM