UAE floods: seven found dead after wettest weather in decades

Thousands given temporary shelter as major clean-up operation continues

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Seven people have been found dead, as authorities continued a major clean-up operation on Friday after the UAE recorded its heaviest rainfall in 30 years.

More than 800 people were rescued and thousands more placed in temporary accommodation in Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah after a summer deluge led to widespread flooding.

“We regret to announce that six people of Asian nationalities have been found dead as a result of the floods that took place in these emirates,” Brig Gen Dr Ali Salem Al Tunaiji, director general of the Ministry of Interior's Federal Central Operations, said on Friday.

A later statement from the ministry said a seventh Asian resident had been found dead following a search operation. The ministry added that evacuation efforts in affected emirates continue.

“Field units are still carrying out evacuations in some of these [Fujairah, Sharjah and RAK] areas,” Brig Gen Al Tunaiji said. “There are also shelters for some individuals whose homes have been exposed to floods.

“The good thing is that nearly 80 per cent of individuals whose homes have been affected by the flood have returned for the past two days. There are some roads that have been opened between affected areas in the UAE. There is only a main road linking Fujairah and Khor Fakkan city. Work is under way, [and] within a short period of time this road will be reopened.”

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (Ncema) said on Thursday that 20 hotels in those areas have the capacity to house an additional 1,885 people, if needed.

The weather has eased in Fujairah but large pools of standing water are still a challenge for motorists.

As residents hope for the calm after the storm, efforts will continue to clear flooded roads, repair damaged properties and return people to their homes.

Emergency response teams have been working non-stop to assist people affected by the hazardous conditions.

Hundreds were rescued from overflowing wadis in Ras Al Khaimah, while Dubai Police were drafted in to support relief efforts in Fujairah.

Images released by authorities showed rescue teams taking children and pets to safety as homes were overwhelmed by flash floods.

Officials assured the public that emergency and clean-up teams are working around the clock to help those in the most flood-affected areas.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, instructed the ERC and its centres across the country to provide all forms of logistical and field support to Emirati teams supporting those affected by the rain, in addition to putting the authority’s workers and volunteers on standby.

He also directed the authority’s teams to be placed under the command of the relevant authorities, assess the situation on the ground and develop plans for evacuation, shelter and psychological support, as well as provide the humanitarian needs of those affected whenever necessary.

ERC field teams have been present since Wednesday in the affected areas in the Northern Emirates to provide the necessary support and assistance.


More rain but conditions to ease

There is expected to be more rain in the Northern Emirates on Friday, but it is believed the worst of the weather has now passed.

The unsettled weather is expected to continue into next week at least. The NCM has forecast strong winds, dust clouds and a chance of rain until Monday.

“We expect a chance of rain over the next few days, especially in the east, as the low-pressure systems are still active,” an NCM forecaster told The National on Thursday.

“But we don’t anticipate falls of rain like yesterday.”

Updated: July 29, 2022, 3:54 PM