Friday, May 24, 2024

Heavy flooding hits Persian Gulf states, casualties reported

The death toll from severe flooding that hit the United Arab Emirates, Oman and other Persian Gulf countries rose to almost 20, with homes and businesses across the Persian Gulf damaged by the heavy rains, and flights delayed or cancelled.

In Al Ain, an Emirati oasis city on the border with Oman, 254mm of rain was recorded in less than 24 hours, according to the national meteorology centre. That marked the highest level since records began in 1949.

An Emirati man in his 70s died after his vehicle was caught in the flooding in Ras Al-Khaimah, one of the country’s seven emirates, according to police.

The storms also hit Bahrain and parts of Qatar, days after flooding devastated neighbouring Oman.

Across Sunday and Monday, 18 people died in Oman as a result of heavy rain. Among the dead were at least nine schoolchildren, according to Oman News Agency.

Videos on social media showed collapsed roads and homes in the UAE, as well as vehicles completely submerged. One clip appeared to show planes taxiing across a flooded runway at Dubai International Airport.

The airport, the world’s busiest for international traffic, saw significant disruption after passengers and crews struggled to arrive and depart on time. Several flights were cancelled or delayed on Tuesday.

“We are working hard to recover operations as quickly as possible in very challenging conditions,” the airport wrote on X.

Though the heavy rains eased, delays continued into Wednesday, as the Emirates airline suspended check-ins for departing passengers until midnight.

An Asian Champions League match between the UAE’s Al Ain and Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal was postponed due to the weather.

Skies were clearer on Wednesday morning, though Emirati authorities ordered all government workers and schools to continue working remotely for a second day.

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