Dh25,000 gift, loan offer: Floods wiped out these UAE shops, but customers came to their rescue

The devastating floods in Fujairah last year, a result of the highest rainfall the region has faced in 27 years, pushed many shops to the brink of closure

by

SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Tue 26 Dec 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 27 Dec 2023, 9:13 AM

The heavy rains that flooded Fujairah in July 2022 wiped out a number of businesses in the area, which have had to work to rebuild from ground up since then.

BK, an Afghan expatriate, ran a successful plantation and nursery near the corniche for seven years before it was completely wiped out. “My entire inventory was washed away in floods. All I had was my passport to return. But returning to Afghanistan would have been the worst decision I could make, as the country was highly unstable back then,” he said.

“The world stopped for me. I was continuously thinking about my future and how will I get my two daughters married,” said BK.

The turning point

BK's fortunes had a turning point when a familiar face, the owner of a farm whose garden he had beautified in January 2022, approached him. “A car approached my nursery. It was the man whose farmhouse I had decorated and maintained. He greeted me and told me not to worry. He took me to his farmhouse to clear the debris of the garden after heavy rain,” said BK.

Upon completing the garden cleanup, BK was pleasantly surprised when he was paid Dh25,000. “He gave me [the money] and told me [it was a] gift for making my garden look beautiful,” he said.

With this unexpected support, BK established a new nursery, a bit away from the corniche.

Rebuilding with borrowed hope

The devastating floods in Fujairah, a result of the highest rainfall the region has faced in 27 years, wreaked havoc on businesses, pushing many to the brink of closure. One such story is that of Badr ul Siddiq, the owner of a grocery store in a low-lying area in Fujairah.

He was forced to discard perishable items and close his store for nearly a month. However, a kind-hearted Emirati customer recognised him while he was taking a stroll at the beach.

“He asked me if I had been to my hometown as the grocery was closed. I explained my situation to him. His next reply was how much do you need to rebuild it. I was in tears,” said Siddiq.

“I borrowed Dh50,000 from him and cleared [the payment of] the last instalment in September this year. Always believe in Almighty’s plan, which is far better than ours,” he added.

A million dirhams in losses

Sadiq Khan, a fodder and feed trader for domestic animals, faced significant losses amounting to approximately Dh1 million, during the floods. However, he still has hope. Currently, Sadiq's younger brother Akbar manages the business in Pakistan, and expressed optimism about a complete recovery in the coming months.

“Because of the sheer hope and confidence of my older brother, Sadiq, our business is still running. We have not recovered what we lost but we will recover in the coming months,” said Akbar.

Anticipating recovery this winter

Smaller establishments, such as a sports shop that lost inventory worth over Dh70,000, are striving to bounce back. “We lost many workout machines, hundreds of pairs of shoes were either given away to lesser privileged or were discarded. Many clothes were also given away,” said the shopkeeper at the store.

Sports shop
Sports shop

Having discarded and donated items post-flood, the shopkeeper remains hopeful, anticipating increased business during the winter months as residents engage in more physical activities. “As it's winter now, we are hopeful of an increase in our business. Residents here organise sports tournaments and indulge in workouts which [increases] our sales,” said the shopkeeper.

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