ABU DHABI // The storm that lashed the country this month may have brought disaster and danger, but it also brought courage and heroism.
At a special ceremony on Thursday, hosted by the emergency, crisis and disaster management team of Abu Dhabi Police, tales of heroism and dedication were told of how people worked to save lives and clear debris during the storm.
Emirati Mohammed Al Mansoori, 37, a CID officer, went beyond the call of duty to help more than 150 airport staff and visitors to evacuate Al Bateen Airport on March 9.
“Alhamdulillah, no one was injured,” he said. “We ensured that everyone was moved out of harm’s way.”
Mr Al Mansoori, however, suffered an elbow injury when the strong winds blew him to the ground.
“I don’t regret helping people move out of the airport,” said the father of five, who was wearing a cast on his left arm. “I’m just happy to help.”
Maj Gen Mohammed Al Romaithi, the commander-in-chief of Abu Dhabi Police, presented 21 individuals and representatives from nine companies with plaques and certificates in recognition of their efforts.
Another Emirati, Ali Al Mansoori, 35, a safety officer at Abu Dhabi Police, was honoured for helping to clear fallen trees and branches that blocked roads in Mussaffah.
“I was off duty at the time and saw many trees uprooted during the storm,” he said. “I parked my car on the side of the road and removed the fallen trees from the road so drivers could safely pass through.”
Emirati Khalifa Al Hosani, 19, who works for the military, described cars being submerged in water and debris flying through the air in Al Dhaid on that day.
“Babies were crying and many people felt really helpless inside their cars,” he said. “I tied a rope around my waist, swam, and managed to take two babies out of a car and get them to safety.”
Mr Al Hosani also rescued an Indian driver and his two passengers, Americans, who were trapped in their car.
Saif Al Romaithi, 20, and Abdullah Al Ketbi, 21, Emirati students at Abu Dhabi Men’s College, were also recognised for their efforts in clearing trees and debris in Mussaffah during the storm. “We were driving to Khalifa City at the time,” Mr Al Ketbi said. “Saif parked the car and we removed many tree branches that had fallen on the road. We’re glad to help. It’s for our country.”
Nine companies were recognised for helping the police, municipality and other government authorities in their road clearing and clean-up efforts and draining accumulated water from roads. Three hundred municipal tankers and pumps were used in the clean-up in and around Abu Dhabi island.
Abu Dhabi Contracting sent out more than 200 employees to help the municipality.
“Three teams were sent to the Corniche, two to Defence Road and two to Mina Zayed,” said Ashraf Salama, the construction manager. “Our task was to clear the debris on the road and drain the water from the roads.”