FUJAIRAH // Mariam Al Mansouri dreads the winter rains that lash her home in the east coast village of Qidfa, and this year was no different.
The mother-of-nine’s villa was flooded, with walls and ceilings cracking under the force of the thunderstorm that battered the area from late Tuesday evening until the next morning.
Fearing her home might not withstand the storm, the 54-year-old and her family took shelter under a car canopy in their front yard for several hours.
“The water came from the front door and through the ceilings and walls, we rushed outside the house and stayed in the car park under the umbrella for 3pm until 10pm,” said Ms Al Mansouri.
“I feel helpless and I don’t know from where I should start, everything is destroyed.”
Each year the Emirati is forced to pay out thousands of dirhams to clean up after storms. She estimates her latest bill will cost the family around Dh120,000.
“I have a Dh1 million loan from the bank for reconstructing the house and I can’t pay more, the house now needs at least Dh120,000,” said Ms Al Mansouri.
For other people, said Ruqaya Sadiq, Ms Mansouri’s daughter, “rain represents joy, but for us it symbolises sadness and fear”.
“I have an 8-year-old daughter and she was so afraid at night, I stayed with her in the car until they moved us to a nearby motel,” said the 36-year-old.
Fujairah Civil Defence moved several families from Qidfa and the nearby town of Merbeh whose homes were flooded to hotel apartments. They will remain there for at least five nights until all of the water is pumped out of their homes.
Ms Sadiq asked for help from the government to repair their home and boost flood defences in the area.
“No one went to work or attended school, this house is 40 years old and the government should solve our problem and provide us with new houses,” added Ms Sadiq
Abulrahman Al Khuzaimi, an Emirati who lives with 25 members of his family in the same house in Merbeh, said flood water and water from sewage pipes came through the walls and the main door.
“The water came from everywhere, we lost the electrical connection and water came inside the electricity box,” said the 54-year-old.
“Me and my wife gathered the little ones in one room that has been newly built to protect them as we were afraid that the ceiling would fall on us.
“This house was built in 1979 and we repair it each year, but we can’t prevent the water from coming inside during winter, we use carpet and blankets as barriers, but when the water flows out of the sewage pipes you can’t do anything about it,” he added.
Mohammed Seif Al Afkham, director general of Fujairah Municipality, said groundwater covered the entire city and its suburbs, but no fallen trees or collapsed houses were reported. Pumps were used to drain waterlogged areas.
Khorfakkan City and surroundings areas were hit by heavy rain and hail with lightning and thunder, which led to power cuts from 3.30pm until 6pm.
The Eastern Ring Road leading to Khorfakkan Port and the Yabsa/ Sakamkam Mountain Road were closed temporarily over concerns of rock slides.