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Dubai grapples with aftermath of torrential rains; significant delays and chaotic scenes at airport | See Pics

The region, known for its rapid urban development and luxury, now faces the challenge of addressing infrastructure vulnerabilities exposed by the extreme weather event

Written by  Jasleen Kaur -- April 18th 2024 12:07 PM
Dubai grapples with aftermath of torrential rains;  significant delays and chaotic scenes at airport | See Pics

Dubai grapples with aftermath of torrential rains; significant delays and chaotic scenes at airport | See Pics

PTC Web Desk: Dubai is grappling with the aftermath of unprecedented torrential rains that inundated the desert city, leaving residents to recount harrowing experiences and causing disruptions at major airports. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) witnessed its heaviest rainfall in 75 years on Tuesday, with up to 259.5mm (10.2in) reported in the country, a stark departure from its usually arid climate.

The state-run WAM news agency described the downpour as a "historic weather event" that eclipsed any prior records since data collection began in 1949. Residents of Dubai faced a challenging night, with many stranded in their cars or workplaces due to flooded roads. One local described his commute, typically a 15-minute journey, as a 12-hour ordeal. Others reported being unable to find taxis, and some resorted to sleeping in Metro stations and airports.

At Dubai International Airport, one of the busiest hubs for international travel, passengers faced significant delays and chaotic scenes. Emirates passengers were advised to stay away unless absolutely necessary. Many travellers expressed frustration at the lack of information, while others formed crowds at help desks, clapping and whistling in protest. Standing water on taxiways further complicated operations.

Flights were diverted to Dubai World Central Airport (Al Maktoum Airport), where passengers experienced additional challenges, such as a lack of food and water. One British traveller described the situation as an "absolute disaster," criticising the lack of updates and support.

Emirates, Dubai's flagship airline, suspended services until Thursday morning and apologised for the disruptions. FlyDubai, the airline's low-cost counterpart, also faced delays. Dubai airport resumed operations from Terminal 1 on Thursday but continued to experience delays and disruptions.

The severe weather has led to closures and shifts in normal operations. Schools in Dubai will remain closed until next week. The UAE government extended remote work for most federal employees for another day.

The crisis prompted intervention from UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who ordered the authorities to assess infrastructure damage and address affected families' needs. Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, acknowledged the efforts of teams working around the clock to address the situation, as the city’s media office shared footage of water being pumped out of flooded areas.

Neighbouring emirates, such as Sharjah, experienced similar disruptions, with residents navigating main streets in makeshift boats. The floods have already claimed one life, a 70-year-old man who was swept away in his car in Ras Al Khaimah.

- With inputs from agencies

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