Dubai floods: Residents rescued by kayaks as water levels rise in community

Trucks meant to pump out water and security vehicles could not reach the neighbourhood due to the high water levels


Mazhar Farooqui

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 1:31 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 10:54 PM

As water levels slowly recede across central Dubai after Tuesday's record-level rainfall, one neighbourhood is facing a dire situation, turning the situation harrowing in the last few hours. In the gated sub-communities of Arabella 1 and 2, in Mudon, residents have been forced to evacuate their homes and rescued using kayaks, inflatable boats, and makeshift rafts.

For those without access to such rescue boats, wading through waist-deep, foul-smelling water while carrying children was the only way out to safety.

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The Mudon community, developed by Dubai Land Residences, is positioned at the intersection of Emirates Road (E611) and Al Qudra Road (D63). It has various sub-communities, but Arabella 1 and 2, situated in low-lying areas, have borne the brunt of the aftermath of the deluge. Arabella has approximately 600 townhouses and villas featuring floor plans with two to five bedrooms.

Watch the video below showing the dire situation:

Residents report that the situation has worsened since Thursday morning as floodwaters swelled, aggravated by runoff from E611 and the overflow of drainage systems, transforming the entire locality into a foul-smelling quagmire.

"The situation here is awful, and that's putting it mildly," said Greek expat Mohammad Neirat, who lives in a three-bedroom townhouse. Wednesday evening, the homeowner put his wife and 6-year-old child in a kayak and transported them to safety while he navigated through waist-deep water alongside.

"My house is completely underwater. It's unlivable now," Neirat said, sharing videos and pictures of his flooded home. Many homes are without electricity.

Sima Gabej, a Canadian woman of Iraqi descent, recounted how her husband and two children, a 2-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, were ferried in a boat, taking turns alongside their nanny. "We had no option. We were marooned.

Canadian expat Rocky Chu, who lives nearby, described the alarming situation. "The whole neighbourhood has turned into an island. It's worsening by the hour, and we're all extremely concerned. There's a long queue for security to the raft boat. My neighbour said he was #20 in the evacuation queue, and that number keeps rising, just like our water level," Chiu shared with Khaleej Times at 12:15pm on Wednesday.

This morning, residents of Arabella held a silent online prayer. "He understands our prayers even when we can't find the words to say them," read a poster shared among residents on the community's WhatsApp group for the 10am prayer.

Residents reported that trucks meant to pump out water and security vehicles could not reach the neighbourhood due to the high water levels. Many, like Masoud Safari from the Netherlands and Suneet Bajaj, have relocated to furnished hotel apartments elsewhere until the situation improves.

Dhaval Mehta, who lives in Business Bay but owns a townhouse in Arabella 1 that he's given out for rent, is fretting over repair and maintenance costs. "It's going to hit my wallet hard," he said.

Residents said thousands of people have been affected across Arabella 1 and 2.

Frantic messages from families stranded with elderly parents and children flood the community's WhatsApp group.


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