Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Residents left to count the cost after Ras Al Khaimah hit by severe storms

RAK residents take stock of the damage as the flood waters cleared on Monday

As the flood waters cleared, Ras Al Khaimah residents surveyed the damaged caused by severe storms that struck the country over the weekend.

Underpasses at the new RAK Ring Road remained severely flooded on Monday and the motorway infrastructure made it impossible for residents to find alternative routes to mountain homes.

“There’s no drainage at any of the intersections on the motorway,” said Marwan Mohammed, a middle aged Emirati from Wadi Bih whose car had stopped working a flooded underpass by the motorway. “What should take five minutes takes two hours. All of Shimal was under water yesterday. The government must fix this, people aren’t able to get to their houses. Cars are stopped all over this road. See how it is even for those 4x4?”

The Dh90-million bypass opened in July and connects the 311 to the north coast town of Shimal. The 30-km motorway skits the mountains bases that are prone to severe flooding on an annual basis.

Emirati Abdulla Saeed was stopped by flood waters when he tried to reach his parents’ home in Wadi Al Bih.

“Jais Jebel has become has a place for tourists and the police warn people about the rain but people don’t understand this,” said Mr Saeed, who is 33. “Everyone wants to go to the mountains and have a look for themselves. They’re don’t know it’s dangerous.”

In the past week, parts of the emirate have been hit by the equivalent of one and a half times the average annual rainfall for the whole of the UAE.

While some farmers welcomed the flooding ahead of the summer date season, others lost livestock.

An Emirati in the RAK neighbourhood Al Karan lost a herd of 120 goats, the Arabic-language Sharjah News reported. He estimated the damage to his farm cost about Dh100,000.

Ras Al Khaimah was lashed with heavy rain, causing flooding on the roads, over the weekend.  Chris Whiteoak / The National
Ras Al Khaimah was lashed with heavy rain, causing flooding on the roads, over the weekend.  Chris Whiteoak / The National

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, thanked emergency services who helped to rescue 570 people trapped in remote valleys and mountains.

As many as 400 people were brought to safety after being marooned on the UAE's tallest mountain, Jebel Jais, in RAK, on Saturday.

A RAK Police helicopter picked up about 170 people from Jebel Jais, 20 at a time, and flew them to safety.

More than 187 millimetres of rain fell over Wadi Shah, a valley south of Jebel Jais, between Tuesday and Sunday evening, the National Centre of Meteorology said.

The annual average rainfall in the UAE is about 100mm, forecasters have said.

Updated: April 15, 2019 03:39 PM

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