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May 19, 2024 3:42 pm

Gulf States Grapple with Devastating Storms: Dubai Airport Paralyzed, Oman Mourns Casualties

Heavy rainstorms have unleashed chaos across the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman, claiming at least 20 lives and wreaking havoc on transportation systems, with Dubai International Airport grappling with unprecedented challenges amidst the deluge.

Dubai International Airport Faces Unprecedented Challenges

Dubai International Airport, the world’s second-busiest airport, finds itself in the throes of “very challenging conditions” as torrential rain inundates its runways. In a cautionary measure, the airport has advised passengers against arriving, with runways submerged under sheets of water. The relentless downpour has resulted in the cancellation of over 270 flights, alongside 370 others experiencing significant delays, according to Flight Aware data. Stranded passengers face an uncertain wait as airport authorities warn that the recovery process will be prolonged.

Tragic Losses and Disrupted Travel

Tragedy struck further north, as a man lost his life when his vehicle succumbed to the ferocity of flash floods. In Oman, the devastation continues with the discovery of another casualty, a young girl in Saham, bringing the death toll in the country to a staggering 19 since the onset of the storms on Sunday. The grim toll underscores the severity of the situation gripping the region.

Unprecedented Rainfall Shocks UAE

The United Arab Emirates witnessed an extraordinary meteorological event on Tuesday, with the National Centre of Meteorology reporting the largest rainfall event in 75 years. Khatm al-Shakla, situated in the emirate of al-Ain, bore the brunt of nature’s fury, with a staggering 254.8mm (9.7in) of rain recorded in less than 24 hours. This deluge far exceeds the country’s annual average rainfall of 140-200 mm, while Dubai, accustomed to a modest 97mm per year, faces an unprecedented inundation. The severity of the situation is compounded by forecasts predicting further thunderstorms, heavy rain, and strong winds, with numerous low-lying areas still submerged.

Challenges Ahead: Recovery Efforts and Lingering Concerns

As the Gulf states grapple with the aftermath of the devastating storms, authorities are mobilizing recovery efforts amidst the ongoing chaos. With critical infrastructure compromised and transportation networks severely disrupted, the road to normalization appears fraught with challenges. Concerns mount as footage from Dubai showcases submerged vehicles lining flooded sections of Sheikh Zayed Road, emblematic of the widespread disruption gripping the region.

In the wake of this calamity, questions arise regarding the preparedness and resilience of Gulf nations in the face of increasingly erratic weather patterns. As the region navigates the aftermath of these deadly storms, the resilience of its communities and the efficacy of its disaster response mechanisms will be put to the test.

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