UAE | Environment

Panic strikes UAE east coast

Panic spread as huge tides and increasingly high waves battered the east coast, with Fujairah and Kalba bearing the brunt of Cyclone Gonu's wrath.

  • By Fuad Ali, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 00:00 June 7, 2007
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Ravindranath/Gulf News
  • Authorities ordered the evacuation of residents in some areas of Fujairah and Kalba.
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Fujairah: Panic spread as huge tides and increasingly high waves battered the east coast with Kalba bearing the brunt of nature's wrath.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of residents in some areas of Fujairah and Kalba, laying on buses to move people into temporary refuge centres at a number of local schools.

Click here to see the 'path of Gonu' (pdf)

The main route in and out of the East Coast town of Kalba has been shut down and residents, in areas close to the advancing seawater, have been ordered to evacuate their homes.

The continuous flow of seawater is threatening to overwhelm homes and buildings especially in the area of Al Nighelat, despite the mounds of sand brought in to halt the advance of the sea.

The city of Sur Kalba and Suhaila area are most affected as seawaves covered the corniche and park, blocking traffic in the main road. Traffic patrols and municipality vehicles worked to drain water from the streets.

Some coastal houses were evacuated after water flooded them, and many roads in the emirate were also flooded. The Ministry of Interior's emergency teams and the municipality teams took action to resume normal life in the area.

Farms and buildings in other parts of the East Coast, including Al Sharm, Merbeh and Qidfeh, are reported to have been flooded.

Key roads

A number of key roads have been closed down by police along the East Coast. Hastily created diversions have created traffic congestion and confusion among motorists.

Police and civil defence patrols are working to stop curious crowds from gathering on the beaches and corniche areas.

Dozens of water tanks and trucks carrying sand are continuously working to deal with the vast amounts of sea water.

The rising sea water already covered the whole of Kalba Corniche Park. Up to 70 school buses were diverted to stricken areas as soon as evacuation orders were given, Hussain Abdullah, manager of the Kalba Emirates Transport unit, said residents made the job extremely difficult for volunteers.

"Most people didn't want to leave," Husain said. "We told them it was unsafe to stay but they didn't at first appreciate the seriousness of the threat. It was only after their houses were flooded that they agreed to leave."

The closures of some roads made the transport of food and supplies very difficult, but eventually families were delivered to a number of schools in Kalba as temporary shelter.

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