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More than 800 rescued and 3,800 in temporary shelter after UAE flash floods

Officials praise emergency service response and community spirit as no casualties reported

At least 870 people were rescued by emergency teams after flash floods in the UAE’s Northern Emirates, the government said.

The Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence announced the continuation of Operation Loyal Hands in Fujairah,
after heavy rain and flash flooding. Photo: MOD UAE

In total, 3,897 people were placed in temporary shelter in Sharjah and Fujairah and will remain there until their homes are deemed safe for them to return.

The National Emergency, Crisis and Disasters Management Authority (Ncema) said 20 hotels in those areas have the capacity to house an additional 1,885 people, if needed.

Weather officials said the deluge on Wednesday contributed to this month being the wettest July in more than 30 years.

More than 50 buses have been mobilised over the past 24 hours to carry people to safety and more than 100 volunteers have been working to help residents and clean up debris and pools of water left by the heavy rainfall.

Officials assured the public that emergency and clean-up teams are working around the clock to help those in the most flood-affected areas.

No deaths or casualties were reported.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed,the Ruler’s Representative in Al Dhafra Region and chairman of the Emirates Red Crescent, instructed the ERC and its centres across the country to provide all forms of logistical and field support to Emirati teams supporting those affected by the rain, in addition to putting the authority’s workers and volunteers on standby.

He also directed the authority’s teams to be placed under the command of the competent authorities, assess the situation on ground and develop plans for evacuation, shelter and psychological support, as well as provide the humanitarian needs of the affected people whenever necessary.

ERC field teams have been present since Wednesday in the affected areas in the Northern Emirates to provide the necessary support and assistance.

The ERC’s emergency room is closely monitoring the weather situation and in constant contact with the concerned authorities in this regard.

A spokesman for the NCM said the adverse weather was caused by a bout of upper and surface air depression from northern India through southern Pakistan heading towards the UAE, which resulted in the formation of heavy rain clouds.

“It is expected that the depression will continue to exist in the west of the country and will gradually weaken during the evening and night [on Thursday], with the continuation of the chance of some rain clouds forming over some eastern and western regions of the country,” he said.

“In general, the situation has weakened since yesterday.”

There were 20 weather warnings issued between July 23 and today, including 70 alerts on social media.

Brig Gen Dr Ali Al Tunaiji, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior, urged the public to closely monitor the NCM weather alerts and abide by warnings sent out by the authorities.

He commended the efforts of those involved in the rescue and clean-up operations.

On Thursday, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Crown Prince of Fujairah, inspected the areas affected by the heavy rains in the emirate.

During the inspection tour, he stressed that efforts will continue and all resources will be allocated to deal with the current situation.

Over the past few days, parts of the UAE have already received more than twice the country’s typical annual rainfall.

The highest rainfall was recorded at a National Centre of Meteorology rain gauge in Fujairah Port where 234.9mm of rain fell from 10:30pm on July 25 to 9.18am on Thursday.

The second highest was Masafi — 209.7mm — with the third highest recorded in Fujairah Airport with 187.9mm.

Late on Wednesday, the government said non-essential public and private sector workers in flood-affected areas, including Sharjah, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, could work from home on Thursday and Friday.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, also called on nearby hotels to provide temporary accommodation for people displaced from their homes by the adverse weather. A report is being drawn up to assess the damage caused by the floods so that work can commence to protect people and property in the Emirates.

Per the latest weather report, things are expected to ease slightly on Friday, although there will be a chance of rain over some areas of the country.

“Partly cloudy in general with another increase in temperatures and the probability of some convective cloud formation over some eastern areas, which may extend over internal areas during daytime,” the NCM bulletin said.

“Expect light to moderate south-easterly to north-easterly winds, freshening at times causing blowing dust and sand, with a speed of 15–25km per hour.

“The sea will be rough to moderate in the Arabian Gulf and moderate to slight in the Oman Sea.”

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