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Oman: 19 killed in flash floods as heavy rains lash neighbouring countries | VIDEO

Among the deceased in Oman were some schoolchildren who were swept away in a vehicle with an adult. Meanwhile, the Royal Oman Police began airlifting people and taking them to safety after heavy downpour paralysed operations in the country.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Muscat Published on: April 17, 2024 17:25 IST
Oman, Oman floods, heavy rains
Image Source : REUTERS Oman experienced flash floods after heavy rains.

Muscat: While unprecedented heavy rains lashed the desert country of the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring nations, as many as 19 were killed in separate heavy flooding in Oman with others still missing as the sultanate prepared for the storm, according to a statement from the country's National Committee for Emergency Management on Tuesday.

That includes some schoolchildren swept away in a vehicle with an adult, which saw condolences come into the country from rulers across the region. After torrential rains lashed the country, various parts of Oman experienced severe flooding. The Royal Oman Police promptly responded to rescue school students trapped in buses, families stranded inside flooded houses, and motorists swept away in their vehicles by strong water currents, according to Khaleej Times.

Field teams of the Royal Oman Police, the Royal Army of Oman, the Civil Defence Authority and the ambulance moved students from the school to a safer place. Due to the high level of the rains, the Committee has activated the National Emergency Situations Management, as well as all sectors and sub-committees in the Governorates expected to be impacted to elevate preparedness and readiness levels in order to mitigate the impacts of the situation and respond to different reports.

Footage by the Royal Oman Police on Tuesday showed police aviation airlifting people and taking them to safety, from gushing floodwater. According to police, 13 air trips were carried out in 24 hours, evacuating, rescuing, transporting, looking for, and providing first aid to over 75 people affected by the flood. The Times of Oman reported that more rain was expected on Wednesday.

Heavy rains and floods in UAE, 1 killed

Meanwhile, the torrential downpour in the UAE killed at least one person and caused damage to homes and businesses as authorities and communities began clearing the debris on Wednesday. The UAE witnessed a record rainfall with 254 mm falling in Al Ain on Tuesday in less than 24 hours, the highest since records began in 1949.

Although heavy rains had eased by late Tuesday, disruptions continued on Wednesday with the Emirates airline suspending check-in for passengers departing Dubai Airport until midnight. Dubai International Airport, one of the world's busiest, said it was facing significant disruptions after the heavy rains delayed or diverted flights and impacted flight crews.

The state-run media called the rain “a historic weather event” that surpassed “anything documented since the start of data collection in 1949". Rain also fell in Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. However, the rains were acute across the UAE. Arrivals were halted on Tuesday night, and passengers struggled to reach terminals through the floodwater covering surrounding roads.

Usually, the desert region receives 3.12 inches of rainfall annually. This means the city received rainfall worth two years within a day. According to the weather department, Dubai typically receives just 0.13 inches of rain during the month of April. In fact, the weatherman asserted that the West Asian nation witnessed its heaviest rainfall in 75 years from late Monday through Tuesday night. 

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, the world’s busiest for international travel and a hub for the long-haul carrier Emirates. Police and emergency personnel drove slowly through the flooded streets of Dubai, their emergency lights shining across the darkened roads, while schools were shut.

Local media reported that an elderly Emirati man in his 70s died on Tuesday morning when his vehicle was caught in flash floods in the Ras Al Khaimah emirate, in the country's north. UAE media and social media posts showed significant damage from the torrential downpours in some parts of the country, including collapsed roads and homes inundated by water.

(with inputs from agencies)

ALSO READ | 'Not Mumbai, it's Dubai': Desi netizens troll UAE's luxurious city after unprecedented floods


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