Chaos, accidents, tailbacks and flooded roads

Filed on March 1, 2010

DUBAI — Dubai Municipality activated its emergency rain response system and deployed several teams to manage the aftermath of the downpour on Saturday night.

Around 275 civic staff and more than 25 tankers with different capacities were involved in the operations, according to Abdul Latif Ali Al Jallaf, Head of Operations with Irrigation Maintenance Network Section of the Municipality.

“Many of our workers started the operations since last night. We have split them into two shifts so that we can offer round-the-clock services,” Al Jallaf told Khaleej Times.

Director of Waste Management Department Hassan Mohammed Makki said his department had assigned one team exclusively for cleaning up the storm water drainage system. The task of the team comprising 50 labourers, 10 foremen and 10 vehicles was to open the clogged gutters and remove blockages. By Sunday afternoon, Makki said, the team cleaned up 688 gutters.

Al Jallaf pointed out that instead of continuous showers, the downpour this time was too strong and lasted for a short period. “So, the drainage chambers couldn’t accommodate the water,” he said.

As a result, several areas reported water-logging. Flooding was reported in some areas in Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim that are close to seashore. Low lying parts of Al Quoz Industrial Area also had waterlogged roads.

The worst hit was Emirates Road, which saw a partial closure as several cars submerged in the floods. Dubai Municipality coordinated with the Roads and Traffic Authority to conduct a joint operation for managing the situation on the highway.

“We are also directly responding to the complaints from the public. We are dealing with 42 complaints related to rain now,” he said. Makki said the department was also clearing the uprooted trees and fallen branches in various parts of the emirate.

Al Jallaf said the Rain Committee would hold a meeting on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

Many airlines diverted their flights due to turbulence over the UAE skies on Saturday night. Classes were disrupted as students and teachers arrived late due to traffic blocks. Students of Dubai schools living in Sharjah spent hours on the road on Sunday.

Students living in the National Paints area were affected due to the flooding on surrounding roads, especially the Emirates Road. Three vehicles were damaged when a compound wall collapsed on them near Al Wahda Road on Saturday night.

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