UAE: With utilities still out, some residents fetch water from pools, nearby buildings

The problem extends beyond the water shortage, electricity has also been cut off – so building lifts are no longer functioning


Waad Barakat

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Published: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 5:18 PM

Last updated: Thu 18 Apr 2024, 11:03 PM

From taking water from the building swimming pool to using washrooms at a mall, residents of some areas are struggling with no electricity and water. Record-breaking rains and floods have left some buildings and communities in the dark.

Ann Celestial, a resident of Al Barsha, Dubai, said she has been fetching water from her building's swimming pool to her apartment on the seventh floor. “Since April 16, just before dawn, the water supply had been cut off,” she told the Khaleej Times.

With the water supply cut off, residents have resorted to fetching water from the pool in the building for basic hygiene needs. Some residents are bringing water from neighbouring buildings.

The problem extends beyond the water shortage. The lift in Ann's building is not functioning, which forced her to fetch water all the way to her home on the seventh floor. “I can’t count how many times I had to do this.”

While considering other solutions like seeking refuge at a friend's house, Ann found herself in a complicated situation as she found most of her friends facing the same dilemma. Shutting down the lift and water in Ann's building is a safety measure as her basement was flooded.

June Aryza, another resident of Al Barsha, has faced a water shortage in her building since Tuesday midnight due flooding in the basement.

"After 3 days of no water and electricity, we went to the nearby mall to freshen up," said June. Living on the sixth floor, June opted to spend her time at the mall until midnight.

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Poonam, an Indian expat residing in Greens, said electricity supply in her building is affected. “We've been sleeping with the doors and windows open. Our friends told us to come and stay with them, but we couldn't leave our mother-in-law who is 75 years old. She can't walk down the stairs, because the lifts are not working," she said.

Fortunately for Poonam, her building’s water supply has not been disrupted. "The electricity was switched off on Tuesday, April 16, immediately after the first storm for the safety of the building. Until this moment, it remains disrupted,” said Poonam, whose apartment is located on the third floor.

“We're still staying put in our own house. There is a little bit of wind so we leave the doors open for some ventilation.”

As for food and other essentials, the only possible solution for Poonam was shuttling between her friends who prepared meals for her and her family and carrying them again to her mother-in-law's home. Despite the tough situation Poonam found herself in, she had to carry on with work. She said: “We would be working either in a coffee shop or at our friend's house because obviously work hasn't stopped.”

Ahmed El Nimiri, a Dubai resident described the situation in his building in JVC. On April 16, at 3am, the electricity suddenly went off, leaving some floors with light initially and only one lift functioning. However, as time passed, all the lift ceased to work, plunging the entire building into darkness until Thursday, April 18.

Ahmed, residing on the 20th floor, faced additional challenges. With his phone battery running low, he resorted to charging it with his laptop, which eventually ran out of power. “I was unable to use the stove, but I was able to make myself a cup of tea as there was one available power source a few floors above,” said Ahmed.

As other residents also gathered around this limited power supply in the 24-building complex, it became a precious resource. The following day, Ahmed woke up to discover that his water supply had also been cut off. With no food available and no delivery services able to reach him, Ahmed made arrangements with a nearby supermarket, explaining the situation, and they agreed to meet halfway to provide him with supplies.

On Thursday, when Ahmed approached the building management seeking answers, they suggested he find accommodation in a hotel since they were uncertain about when the problem would be resolved. Consequently, Ahmed found himself jogging down all 20 floors and retrieving his car from the basement. He then headed to the nearest coffee shop to resume work while exploring alternative living arrangements.


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