Heavy rains in UAE: Residents comply with stay home advisory as red alert issued

Some areas, roads, tourist attractions closed off for safety after floods trigger flurry of official warnings



By Nasreen Abdulla, Sahim Salim and SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Thu 28 Jul 2022, 12:20 PM

Last updated: Thu 28 Jul 2022, 10:49 PM

The relentless heavy rains that lashed the eastern parts of the UAE have become an emergency for some residents. Authorities rescued stranded families in overnight operations, while some roads, tourist attractions and areas had to be closed as a safety measure.

With vehicles being swept away in flash floods, residents of rain-affected areas working in both public and private sectors were given the option to work from home.

Residents stay indoors

The Ministry of Interior advised residents in affected areas not to leave homes unless absolutely necessary, and many have been complying. Fujairah resident Raj Pattnaik has been staying home since alerts were issued.

“All non-essential government employees are working from home,” he said. “So are employees of many private companies. Only essential workers like emergency teams and hospital workers are going out. I have been staying home with my family. Roads are underwater, and many cars have been swept away. Several shops have also been flooded, making it difficult to get essential groceries.”

Another resident, Emaad Ahmed, a sales executive at a mall in Fujairah, said that it was difficult to move around the city as authorities advised residents to stay indoors.

“A few roads are clogged with water, and it is difficult to move around the city. Many cars were on the road submerged in water, and the recovery vehicles are seen taking them to the garage,”

“The authorities have done a good job rescuing people who were struck in the lanes with villas and small buildings,” added Ahmed.

A municipality worker at Kalba said they were moved to a safer place by the authorities, and many streets in the town were submerged. “It was raining heavily in Kalba, and the road was under water. To avoid any hazards, we were moved to a safer place by the authorities, for which I am really thankful,” said the worker.

Continuing rescue operations

Rescue operations are continuing in the UAE’s eastern region, where incessant rains have flooded homes, streets and shops in record-breaking rainfall that the hit the country.

Authorities evacuated stranded families in overnight operations, assisted by several good Samaritans and volunteers.

A video shared by the Ministry of Interior on Thursday shows Civil Defence officers rescuing a family in Fujairah’s Al Faseel area:

The video shows security personnel carrying a child to a rubber boat moored outside what looks like a villa. The footage then shows another rescued person inside the boat.

Another video the ministry shared shows officials wading through thigh-high floodwaters, with one officer carrying a child on his shoulders. This scene was from Kalba, where a family was rescued:

A video shared by the Dubai Police posted showed the force’s rescue teams in action in Fujairah:

Areas and attractions closed

Some roads, tourist attractions and areas had to be closed as a safety measure. Shees Park in Khor Fakkan was closed temporarily due to unstable weather conditions. The coastal city’s municipality said the park would remain closed “until further notice”.

The Sharjah Police have appealed to residents not to go to the country’s eastern region unless necessary. In an advisory on social media, the police told residents to wait for torrential rains and flash floods to clear.

People in the UAE usually drive to the mountains and valleys of the eastern region when it rains. Dubai resident Riyas was one such person who got stuck in Fujairah on Wednesday. “After work, along with my wife and two kids, I drove to Fujairah to enjoy the rain,” he said.

On the way back, the Indian national was stopped by police due to bad road conditions. “My map showed that there was a way back to Dubai if I took a right turn,” he said. “I took the turn, and the rain became so heavy that I couldn’t see anything. Realizing that if I continued, it would be dangerous, I headed to the closest hotel and stayed there overnight.”

Riyas was able to leave Fujairah by midday on Thursday.

More rains forecast

The NCM has issued code-red alerts for some areas. Red signifies ‘hazardous weather events of exceptional severity are forecast’ and advises residents to be “extremely vigilant”.

The Ministry of Interior called on residents to adhere to the authorities' instructions, abide by safety requirements and drive with extreme caution.

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