UAE: 4 days after evacuation from flooded homes, displaced residents assess damage

Residents anxiously await their return to their lives as they spend three days in school shelters


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Photos: Mohammed Murshidul Islam
Photos: Mohammed Murshidul Islam

Published: Thu 15 Feb 2024, 3:51 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Feb 2024, 9:17 PM

For three consecutive days, incessant rains have battered Kalba town, flooding the eastern region of Sharjah and causing damage to several homes. Mohammed Murshidul Islam is among the hundreds of residents rescued from their homes.

"It started raining heavily around 10pm (Feb 11), and the roads were submerged in no time. We were all awake and received messages that authorities would be evacuating people from their homes in certain areas," said Islam, a building maintenance executive and a resident of Mughaider in Kalba.

On Sunday, February 11, residents in the eastern towns of the UAE were informed to remain vigilant due to the impending bad weather conditions. Heavy rains were predicted, which could potentially lead to flooding in certain neighbourhoods.

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At around 2am on February 12, authorities and a handful of social workers evacuated Mughaider residents, ensuring their safe relocation to schools. "It poured heavily for the last three days, and we were asked not to visit our homes as the water level was over 3ft," said the 46-year-old.

On the fourth day, the Bangladeshi expat went to assess the damages accompanied by a policeman. "I visited my house and saw extensive damage. Everything, from sofas and cupboards to carpets, utensils, refrigerator, and washing machine, had been affected," said Islam, who, along with his family, has been relocated to Al Shifa School.

"We spend our days bonding with other families evacuated from the area. We talk to our relatives back home, share meals together, and take strolls down the road when the rain subsides," said Islam.

Despite being displaced from their homes, Kalba residents are grateful for the timely evacuation and thanked the authorities for efficiently and satisfactorily taking care of them.

The displaced residents have been provided with food, mattresses, and various amenities, alleviating their concerns.

“We express our gratitude to the authorities for taking care of us. They have been providing us with nutritious and delicious meals, including snacks. Additionally, we have received mattresses, pillows, blankets, and even new clothes,” said Abdul Rahman, a grocer in Kalba.

“The only concern we have is the uncertainty about the condition of our houses since the authorities have cordoned off the area. But I know it is for our safety,” said the 50-year-old Pakistani expat.

A few social organisations in Kalba have been actively involved, evacuating and providing them with food and other necessities.

Pramod Pattanoor, central committee secretary, Kairali Cultural Association Fujairah Kalba Unit, said evacuations are still underway in a few neighbourhoods.

“Rain hasn’t stopped, and the water level increases immediately after the downpour. With the help of the authorities, we evacuated an old lady who was scared as the water level increased near her house,” said Pattanoor.

“Our organisation is working round the clock to help the people in need. We have been circulating messages across the region to contact us in need. Residents who have been relocated are waiting to return to their homes and normalcy,” said Pattanoor.

Sixty one Emirati families included 346 individuals were also evacuated from the Eastern region. Of the total families, 56 families were provided shelter in Kalba city, while three families were accommodated in the city of Dibba Al Hisn, and two families in Khor Fakkan.


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