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Temperatures begin to take toll on waiting drivers

Several cases of dehydration in border queue

Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News
Truck drivers stuck at the border between the UAE and SaudiArabia at Al Ghuwaifat. on Wednesday afternoon, the tailbackreached more than 17 kilometres to near Al Sila.
Gulf News

Al Ghuwaifat: As temperatures climbed above 40C here yesterday, a number of truck drivers were treated for heat exhaustion and dehydration, medical officials in Al Sila told Gulf News.

"We have had several cases of dehydration and the hot temperature is making things difficult for the drivers," an official said.

There are more than 5,000 trucks waiting to cross into Saudi Arabia from the UAE, with slow processing by Saudi officials at the Batha customs post resulting in long delays.

Yesterday afternoon, the tailback reached more than 17 kilometres from the UAE border post at Al Ghuwaifat along the E11 to near Al Sila on the Abu Dhabi side.

"This here is way too much," Niyat, a driver from Afghanistan, said as he sought shade alongside his rig carrying coiled steel from Sharjah to Doha. "Too many problem. Too much wait. Too much heat."

‘No delay'

Saudi border officials at Batha contacted yesterday by Gulf News declined to comment on the situation.

"No delay," an official said by telephone. "No problem."

But drivers joining the end of the queue near Al Sila face a gruelling wait of almost a week.

"I came here last night from Sharjah," Niyat said. "Tomorrow, maybe I get close to Al Ghuwaifait, Inshallah. Then another day to the compound there, and two more days to hand in papers to Saudi customs.

"Then another day to get them back, then search, then khalas."

Nayat, however, is one of the lucky ones. He owns his own trailer, and is getting Dh3,000 for the run to Doha which is normally a round trip of three days.


From that Dh3,000, he pays the transport broker Dh300.

From the rest comes his fuel, maintenance and insurance costs, then his food and expenses along the road.

This time out, though, he was fined Dh1,000 for having a small camping gas tank under his truck.

"Dubai police say it is dangerous and it needs to be in a covered box," Niyat said.

After his fine and expenses, Niyat will make about Dh600 for the six or seven-day trip — depending on how long it takes to clear the post on the other side of the frontier line.

"Now too many problems in Saudi," he says. "Coming back, no problem.

"Empty truck, khalas, no problem. But going to Saudi, too much problem."

On Tuesday, Minster of Interior officials in Abu Dhabi said they would provide assistance to truck drivers to try and ease the congestion.