Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 22 January 2020

Emirati villagers in plea for help after homes ruined by flooding

Al Raheeb, on the east coast, was one of the worst hit areas of the country when rain storms hit last week

Residents of a village in Fujairah have urged the authorities to act to prevent new homes being damaged by severe flooding for a fourth time.

Homeowners in Al Raheeb said 20 properties were badly affected by storms so far this month and that more rain risked further destruction.

Families said the only solution to the issue was the construction of a barrier or dam that can divert surging rainwater away from their villas.

The water came from the mountains right into our house in the middle of the night. It cut off the electricity supply and reached about one metre in height

Jasim Al Abdouli, Al Raheeb homeowner

Residents said winter storms had already sent fast flowing water and mud through the village, ripping up pavements and terrifying local children.

Fujairah Municipality was contacted for comment and said it would respond to concerns soon.

“The water came from the mountains right into our house in the middle of the night,” said Jasim Al Abdouli, 32, a father of three.‎

‎“It destroyed the paint on the walls and ripped up pavement blocks. It also cut off the electricity supply. It reached about one metre in height.”

Al Raheeb village is located in Rul Dhadnah, about 20km away from Dibba Al Fujairah, popular with tourists and divers.

Flash floods in the emirate have proved enormously damaging in the past, with torrents of water cascading down mountains and into populated valleys.

Footage of a recent storm on October 5 showed wadis overflowing, submerged roads and other damaged infrastructure.

Mr Al Abdouli said the bill to repair the destruction to his home came to around Dh50,000.

‎“The municipality came and cleaned the roads in front of the houses while we hired ‎people to clean the vast amounts of mud,” he said. “It was covering the front and back yards of some houses and ‎there was water inside the villa.

‎“When the first flooding happened I thought the municipality would find a solution right away, ‎but it happened again and again, and no action was taken.”

Khaled Rashed, 41, an Emirati father of three, recently moved into another of the affected villas.

He also urged local authorities to address the threat of flooding before the onset of winter and a likely increase in rainfall.

“We appreciate the generosity of our leaders who provided us with these villas but this is a major ‎issue that needs to be solved,” he said.

‎“My villa was severely damaged last year due to the floods so I couldn’t move in straight away. One of the walls was ‎knocked down and needed time to be fixed.

"I built a second wall in front of the main [to help divert floodwater.

“My villa is located in the centre of the ‎valley and can be easily destroyed by the floods,” he said.

Neighbour Ahmed Al Saddi, a father of 10, said he was forced to evacuate his family due to the sudden rainfall.

His two brothers did the same.

"We evacuated the villas. The water came into our children's rooms and almost filled the entire home," he said.

"We had to leave the house at 2am and hired people to come and clean the house the next day. It will cost us about Dh30,000 each to fix. My salary is only Dh3,000 a month so I can't afford it."

“We’ve asked the authorities to install stronger window frames that can prevent the water from coming into our house and help us fix the damage,” Mr Al Saddi said.

Updated: October 17, 2019 03:06 PM