A policeman directs the traffic in rain-affected Fujairah. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai/ Ras Al Khaimah/ Fujairah: As heavy rains continued to lash the northern and eastern regions of the UAE on Thursday, authorities, emergency teams and volunteers from across the emirates made concerted efforts to rescue and ensure safety of affected residents.

A total of 879 people have been rescued in Sharjah and Fujairah, authorities said during a special media on Thursday by the Ministry of Interior (MoI), National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA), and National Centre of Meteorology (NCM).

Emergency teams evacuated 150 people and transferred them to hotel units. Around 40 volunteers helped transport people in their four-wheel drive vehicles, in addition to buses and public vehicles. There were also 60 volunteers who took care of evacuated families.

No casualties were reported but there were property losses, authorities noted.

Read more

Dr Taher Al Ameri, the official spokesperson of NCEMA, said the safety of people and their properties were being accorded top priority by the UAE’s wise leadership and government. “Special rescue teams work day and night according to carefully-designed plans and with full preparedness to deal with emergencies and to protect people’s lives and properties,” he said.

The Ministry of Community Development is coordinating with more than 20 hotel establishments and has so far managed to provide 827 hotel rooms that can accommodate up to 1,885 people from various parts of the country.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence announced that rescue efforts continue as part of its ‘Loyal Hands’ rescue operation to evacuate rain-affected residents from Fujairah and transport them to safe accommodations. The ministry is also providing support to local authorities to help rain-affectd people.

The Ministry of Defence announced that rescue efforts continue as part of its ‘Loyal Hands’ rescue operation to evacuate rain-affected residents from Fujairah and transport them to safe accommodations. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Courtesy: NCM

Emergency teams

MoI, in coordination with NCEMA, quickly dispatched emergency teams from all emirates to support rescue operations in Fujairah and the eastern parts of the country that witnessed heavy rain since Wednesday.

A video tweeted by MoI on Thursday showed the successful rescue of a family stranded in Al-Faseel area in Fujairah.

MoI underlined “the safety of people and property is a top priority, as it also tweeted another video showing the Air Wing transporting medical personnel from Fujairah to Kalba Hospital to meet any emergency.

Operation: Loyal Hands

Dubai Police rescue teams also actively participated in ‘Operation: Loyal Hands in Fujairah. In a video posted on Instagram by Dubai Police on Thursday, women, elderly and children are seen being evacuated on police rescue trucks to safer grounds.

Dubai Police are also seen assisting a group of men navigate raging knee-deep floods on Wednesday night as torrential rains brought the traffic to a standstill and led to waterlogged streets and road closures.

Quick reaction teams

The National Search and Rescue Centre (NSRC) activated its search and rescue operations using SAR (search and rescue) aircraft to provide support to the affected areas.

NSRC posted: “With the assistance of the SAR crew and operations team, the stranded individuals were transferred to safe areas, and the injured were transported to the nearest hospital for treatment. NSRC affirms that it is fully prepared to save lives.”

Round-the-clock rescue

The General Command of Sharjah Police also showed they have been working round-the-clock to deal with the exceptional weather situation. They also reminded the public to follow safety precautions as they sent SMS and messages on social media to all residents.

Sharjah Police earlier also announced the closure of Khor Fakkan road in both directions until further notice. Motorists have been urged to take alterative roads.

On Thursday morning, Sharjah Roads and Transport Authority (SRTA) urged motorists to avoid using a road in the Daftta area leading to Khor Fakkan except for cases of “extreme necessity”.

SRTA said rocks which had fallen on the road after wadis overflowed were being removed. Eastern Region Police said travel to the Eastern Region should be temporarily avoided, unless absolutely necessary.

The National Centre of Meteorology (NCM) also issued a safety alert regarding the flood-hit areas of Sharjah and Fujairah. “Be extremely vigilant: hazardous weather events of exceptional severity are forecast,” NCM noted.

Great efforts

Major General Ali Abdullah bin Alwan Al Nuaimi, commander-in-chief of Ras Al Khaimah Police and head of the Local Emergency and Crisis Management Team, has praised “the great efforts made by all RAK police and local crisis teams.” He said they executed their tasks “with high professionalism and speed.”

Al Nuaimi said more than 77 patrols were deployed on various internal and highways in the emirate to monitor the closure of all valleys that were flooded. He added support was provided to more than 200 people who were trapped in the high mountains and valleys, and their vehicles were secured to cross to safe areas away from the flow of valleys.

RAK Police operations room also received 1,883 calls requesting for help or makig inquiries about the weather.

Work from home until Friday

Meanwhile, government employees in remote areas have been ordered to work from home until Friday. The Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE ) has also called on private sector establishments in areas affected by rains and floods in the UAE to allow their non-essential employees to work remotely on Friday. The decision excludes employees of the Civil Defence, police and security bodies that deal with emergencies, as well as community support-related bodies that deal with reports about damages affecting citizens’ farms and properties.

Read more