UAE | Environment

Kalba 'learnt a valuable lesson from Gonu'

More than six months after the floods that paralysed parts of Kalba, the costal town's recovery is well on its way to completion.

  • By Fuad Ali, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 01:15 December 30, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Fuad Ali/Gulf News
  • THEN... The popular Corniche Park in Kalba suffered severe damage in Cyclone Gonu. The fencing and walkway were completely destroyed.
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Fujairah: More than six months after the floods that paralysed parts of Kalba, the costal town's recovery is well on its way to completion.

It was back in June when high sea waves caused by Cyclone Gonu flooded many parts of Kalba, and drenched shops and houses in the salty sea water.

Suhaila, the hardest hit part of the town, was undone by its proximity to the sea and its alignment below sea level.

Shop keepers had to overcome damage to machines, raw material, and important documents not to mention loss of revenue.

Residents were left with drenched furniture, damaged electronic machines and damp walls.

Generous financial compensations, courtesy President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, considerably eased burden on victims of the flood, and now many are back in business.

Mohammad Anees, a tailor, said six months ago the situation looked bleak but now things are back to normal.

He said: "After the flooding I was left with Dh20,000 worth of damage, including a sewing machine worth Dh7,000, and at the time we weren't sure if we would be compensated by anyone."

"Eventually, I had to get on with it, so I bought a new sewing machine and replaced the floor and bought new garments and early this month we received Dh10,000 as compensation, which was desperately needed," Mohammad said.

The most damaged public infrastructure was the popular Kalba Corniche Park, which had been renovated just before the floods.

Now the park is undergoing another renovation, hoping once again to attract visitors from far and close. Dr Mohammad Saeed Al Sahi, Chairman of Kalba City Municipal Council, said everyone was thankful there was no loss of life, adding that lessons have been learnt.

He said: "It was a time when everyone came together to face a situation we have never experienced before. All the efforts put in by the different civic and voluntary bodies, helped ease the impact of the flooding on the victims."

Dr Al Sahi said work to regenerate the Corniche Park is in progress and promised it will be better than ever.

He said: "We know how popular the park is, especially with families, so we are working on creating an even better environment by including children's play areas, eating outlets and improved public utilities."

Dr Al Sahi stressed the importance of constructing sea defence against future possibilities of flooding.

Call for sea barrier

He said: "Kalba has learnt a valuable lesson from the events of June. The building of a sea barrier is high on the agenda. The Emergency Response Committee have received increased funding and emergency response strategies have been incorporated on both local and federal levels."

Dr Al Sahi said such measures are essential to ease public anxiety and protect public and private investment.

Gulf News
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