Dubai floodDubai flood

The airport faced challenges in providing food to stranded passengers due to nearby roads being impassable due to flood waters.

DUBAI: After a rare and intense rainstorm engulfed the United Arab Emirates, emergency crews are hard at work clearing flooded roads, while residents assess the aftermath to homes and businesses. The deluge, which hit the region on Tuesday, brought Dubai International Airport, a vital travel hub, to a standstill, with flights delayed and roads submerged.

Record-breaking rainfall, the heaviest in the Gulf state’s 75-year recorded history, paralyzed much of the country, causing widespread damage and trapping residents in vehicles, offices, and homes. Social media circulated images of water pouring into malls and flooded roads, while many reported leaks in their homes.

Traffic disruptions persist, with major highways reduced to single lanes and some roads closed altogether. In Dubai, submerged vehicles, including buses, are a common sight, and long queues have formed at petrol stations.

Emergency responders are using fire trucks to pump water from flooded roads, while at Dubai airport, operations remain disrupted. The storm flooded the runway, leading to flight diversions, delays, and cancellations. Although inbound flights have resumed at Terminal 1, utilized by foreign carriers, ongoing disruptions and delays continue to affect travel plans.

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Following the disruption caused by the storm, Dubai Airport announced that check-in services were operational at Terminal 3 for Emirates and flydubai flights. However, they advised travelers to proceed to the terminal only if they had received departure confirmation from their respective airlines, citing a significant backlog of passengers waiting to check in. Emirates, the airport’s largest carrier, had ceased all check-in procedures on Wednesday due to the adverse conditions.

Efforts to assist stranded passengers were hindered by blocked roads and overcrowding, which limited access for those with confirmed bookings. The airport struggled to deliver food supplies to those in need, exacerbating the challenges faced by affected travelers.

The storm, originating from Oman on Sunday before hitting the UAE on Tuesday, led to widespread flooding and prolonged traffic congestion as rainwater inundated residential areas. Casualties were reported, with one fatality in the UAE and twenty in Oman. Authorities advised government employees and students to remain at home until waterlogged roads could be cleared.

While some severely affected areas still grappled with flooded roadways, grocery stores gradually began replenishing shelves, although fresh produce remained in shorter supply than usual. Delivery services, essential in a city like Dubai where online ordering is commonplace, slowly resumed operations after a hiatus of two days.

The rarity of rainfall in the UAE and the wider Arabian Peninsula, typically characterized by arid desert conditions, underscored the unusual nature of the storm. Summer temperatures often exceed 50 degrees Celsius in the region. While some speculated about the role of cloud seeding, a practice frequently employed in the UAE to enhance rainfall, climate experts attributed the extreme weather to global warming. They warned of future risks, including higher temperatures, increased humidity, and heightened flood hazards, particularly in regions lacking adequate drainage infrastructure.

Despite speculations, a UAE government agency responsible for cloud seeding denied conducting any operations before the storm. President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a statement directing authorities to assess the damage and extend support to affected families.

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