Heavy rains, hail in UAE: Did you get this emergency alert on your phone?

The wireless public safety message urged residents to exercise caution as the country experiences adverse weather conditions


Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 21 Mar 2023, 1:57 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Mar 2023, 10:13 PM

An emergency alert has buzzed on mobile phones in Abu Dhabi and Dubai as the police warned residents about unstable weather conditions. In the wireless emergency alerts, the police informed residents that the country is experiencing “adverse weather”.

“Stay clear of beaches and areas prone to flash floods. Drive with care and heed the advice of the authorities. Stay safe,” the message from the Dubai Police read.

The Abu Dhabi Police called on motorists to exercise caution due to the rainy weather conditions and “follow the changing speed limits displayed on electronic information boards”. Drive safely, the police urged.

Android and iPhone users reported having received the alert. The warning message in both Arabic and English titled ‘Public Safety Alert’ popped up on phones, with a vibration and a loud alert.

Heavy rains with lightning and thunder, and hail have been reported in multiple parts of the UAE, including Dubai. Icy rains hit Dubai’s Lahbab and Margham; Sharjah’s Al Madam; and some parts of Abu Dhabi.

Heavy rains fell in Sharjah’s Oud Al Muteena, Corniche, Mleiha and Al Khan; Dubai’s Deira and Hatta; and parts of Abu Dhabi and Ajman.

Emergency alerts, explained

The National Emergency Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (NCEMA) had adopted the early warning system project in 2017. It goes out to both residents and visitors.

“When an event, emergency or crisis occurs, the … authority (concerned) will issue the warning alert with the necessary instructions and actions to be taken by the public,” the NCEMA explains.

The technology used to deliver the warning alerts is called cellular broadcast (CB). All phones within a specific geographical location will receive the alert.

The authority said majority of the mobile phones have been updated to comply with the alert system. Some of the older phones may not be compatible. “Moreover, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) issued a law enforcing the new phones entering the UAE market to be enabled with early warning requirements,” the NCEMA says on its website.


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