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India advises citizens to reschedule non-essential travel to Dubai amid heavy rains

The Indian Consulate General in Dubai had already issued helpline numbers for stranded Indians in Dubai and helped extending relief measures and establishing contact. The UAE experienced unprecedented weather since Monday, recording its highest rainfall in 75 years.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Dubai Published on: April 19, 2024 17:50 IST
Dubai floods, heavy rains
Image Source : AP A heavily flooded road in Dubai due to heavy rains.

Dubai: Owing to the severity of the unprecedented heavy rains and storms in Dubai, the Indian Embassy in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has issued an advisory for Indian citizens travelling to or through the city and advised them to reschedule non-essential travel till operations normalise. The number of inbound flights has been limited at the Dubai International Airport due to the unprecedented weather.

Dubai is one of the most popular destinations for Indian tourists, with at least 2.46 million visitors recorded between January and December 2023. The rare storms and floodings have prompted the Indian embassy in the city to issue helpline numbers for Indian citizens affected by the extreme weather events in Dubai and the northern part of the Emirates.

The UAE experienced an unprecedented weather event in the last few days as heavy rains and a storm struck the nation, sweeping its main city Dubai and leading to widespread disruption of essential services like traffic or air travel. Even now, the country is struggling to recover from the rainfall as its main airport worked to restore normal operations even as floodwater still covered portions of major highways and roads.

What did India's advisory say?

In its advisory, the Indian embassy said the situation in Dubai remains unprecedented after the rains as the city has limited inbound flights. "The Airport Authorities have advised that passengers may travel to the Airport ONLY AFTER final confirmation from the respective airlines regarding the departure date and time of the respective flights," it said.

"In light of the above advisory, inbound Indian passengers travelling to or transiting through Dubai International Airport are advised to reschedule non-essential travel till operations normalise," the embassy further said. On Thursday, the Indian Consulate General in Dubai said it had facilitated contact between stranded passengers and their families in India. It also said that relief measures have been extended with the help of Indian community organisations and regular updates from the airlines are being conveyed to travellers.

Unprecedented weather in UAE

The desert Arab country does not usually receive much rainfall. The state-run WAM news agency called the rains beginning from Tuesday “a historic weather event” that surpassed "anything documented since the start of data collection in 1949". The Emirates carrier, whose operations had been struggling since the storm, had stopped travellers flying out of the UAE from checking into their flights as they tried to move out connecting passengers. 

By the end of Tuesday, more than 142 millimetres (5.59 inches) of rainfall had soaked Dubai over 24 hours. An average year sees 94.7 millimetres (3.73 inches) of rain at Dubai International Airport. Other areas of the country saw even more precipitation. The UAE's drainage systems quickly became overwhelmed, flooding out neighbourhoods, business districts and even portions of the 12-lane Sheikh Zayed Road highway running through Dubai.

Emergency workers tried to clear waterclogged roads and people assessed the damage to homes and businesses on Thursday after the record-breaking storm. 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. One person was reported dead in the UAE and 20 in neighbouring Oman.

Following Tuesday's events, questions were raised about whether cloud seeding, a process that the UAE frequently conducts, could have caused the heavy rains. Since 1982, the UAE has been using cloud seeding technology, which is also known as artificial rain. However, experts believe human-caused climate change is the main reason.

ALSO READ | WATCH: Dubai's sky turns green after heavy rains and storms, netizens left puzzled

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