Cars and trucks are stranded on a flooded street in Dubai following heavy rains, on Thursday.—AFP
Cars and trucks are stranded on a flooded street in Dubai following heavy rains, on Thursday.—AFP

DUBAI: Dubai, a city in the desert proud of its futuristic gloss, was on Thursday busy clearing its waterclogged roads and drying out flooded homes two days after a record storm saw a year’s rain fall in a day.

Dubai International Airport, a major travel hub, struggled to clear a backlog of flights and many roads were still flooded in the aftermath of Tuesday’s deluge.

The rains were the heaviest experienced by the United Arab Emirates in the 75 years that records have been kept. They brought much of the country to a standstill and caused significant damage.

Flooding trapped residents in traffic, offices and homes. Many reported leaks at their homes, while footage circulated on social media showed malls overrun with water pouring from roofs.

Airport struggles to clear backlog of flights, many roads still flooded

Traffic remained heavily disrupted. A highway through Dubai was reduced to a single lane in one direction, while the main road that connects Dubai with the capital Abu Dhabi was closed in the Abu Dhabi direction.

“This was like nothing else. It was like an alien invasion,” Jonathan Richards, a Dubai resident from Britain, told Reuters.

“I woke up the other morning to people in kayaks with pet dogs, pet cats, suitcases all outside my house.”

Another resident, Rinku Makhecha, said the rain swamped her freshly renovated house she moved into two weeks ago. “My entire living room is just like … all my furniture is floating right now,” she said.

In Dubai’s streets, some vehicles, including buses, could be seen almost entirely submerged in water. Long queues formed at petrol stations.

Dubai airport had yet to resume normal operation after the storm flooded taxiways, forcing flight diversions, delays and cancellations.

Dubai Airports Chief Operating Officer Majed Al Joker told Al Arabiya TV he expected Dubai International Airport to reach 60-70 per cent capacity by the end of Thursday and full operational capacity within 24 hours.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2024

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