Flooded roads in Sharjah.-Photo by Anu Cinubal/Khaleej Times
Sharjah/Ajman/Ras Al Khaimah - The downpour also caused more than 80 minor accidents in Sharjah.
As heavy rain battered the UAE on Wednesday, some areas in the Northern Emirates bore the brunt. Floods shut down roads in Umm Al Quwain and slowed traffic to a crawl in Sharjah. Roofs collapsed in Ajman, while landslides, uprooted trees and broken poles were reported in Ras Al Khaimah.
The downpour also caused more than 80 minor accidents in Sharjah, as winds destroyed roofs of a number of old houses in Mysalon and Musalla areas, authorities said.
Motorists were among those heavily affected as accumulated rainwater continued to be a problem in many parking lots and streets in Sharjah residential areas, despite massive efforts to address the issue.
Vehicles inched their way out of traffic jams on streets such as King Abdul Aziz, King Faisal and Al Wahada streets. Many residents even decied to stay home to avoid the congestion.
In Umm Al Quwain, some drivers had to find alternative routes as all exits leading to the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Road were closed because of floods.
"Other key roads have been shut down for the same reason," informed sources from the UAQ Police said.
Both directions on the Union/Etihad road; the entrance to Al Salma area, to and from the Horse roundabout; and the road on the opposite side of the emirate's Lulu Express Centre were all closed.
In Ras Al Khaimah, teams attended to 240 emergencies.
"Reports about flooded roundabouts, as well as damaged roads have been dealt with," said Issa Al Shamsi, head of the emergency committee.
"Incidents of uprooted trees, broken poles, landslides, and non-functioning traffic lights are also being handled efficiently." Six landslides on Al Dheit internal roads were taken care of, he added.
Pumping out rainwater
Emergency workers were on full alert, responding to reports round the clock and heading out to clear roads of rainwater.
Thabit Al Turaifi, director-general of the Sharjah Municipality, said their team worked day and night to ensure that waterlogging is prevented in frequently used roads to avoid congestions.
"Then rainwater at roundabouts, parking lots and other public areas are drained out," he added.
A total of 80 tanks and 160 mobile pumps were distributed in various parts of the city.
Similar emergency operations were done in other emirates.
Up to 1,715,000 gallons of rainwater was drained off the roads and roundabouts by the 549-member emergency teams of the department of public works in Ras Al Khaimah.
Al Shamsi said the department deployed up to 49 tankers which have so far completed 340 trips.
In Ajman, the municipality formed 15 teams to monitor rainwater drainage throughout the emirate. It also allocated 25 tankers and 25 pumps for the operations, said Dr Mohammed Ahmed Omair Al Muhairi, executive director of the infrastructure development sector.
"An emergency plan has been drawn up to reduce the impact of rainfall," he added.
Brigadier Dr Ahmed Saeed Al Naour, chairman of the Executive Committee for the Management of Crises and Local Disasters in Sharjah, said the police have taken measures to ensure safety amid the rainy weather, especially in desert areas, internal and external roads, and some sites that are usually affected by flooding.
"Actions have been taken to keep the public away from dangerous sites. Tourist companies, in particular, were advised to suspend certain activities until the weather stabilises," he said.