Dubai: Indian expat Manoj Alex, 45, and his family were among hundreds of residents who were affected by the recent flooding in Fujairah. Water entered their house, inundating everything and leaving mud and dirt when it subsided.
But thanks to volunteers – in particular in his case, the Aster Volunteers from Aster DM Healthcare – Alex, a father of three, whose wife is a nurse, was able to clean up his house in no time and they have remained safe.
‘I started panicking’
Recalling the heavy flooding last week, Alex, who is originally from the southern Indian state of Kerala, told Gulf News: “Upon waking up on the morning of the flood, I saw water inside the house, and it frightened me. Soon, the water level had risen and I started panicking even more. By the time the water reached my waistline, I decided to get my wife and children out of the house. I carried one of my children over my shoulder and the other in my arms. I’m thankful that I was able to take my passport and documents with me.”
He added: “Outside our residence, a UAE military bus was waiting for us. We got inside and they took us to a nearby school for shelter. We were all drenched, and my kids were crying. Our fridge, bed and other furniture were destroyed. I did not want my children to fall sick and my wife was shocked in the aftermath of the flood.”
Volunteers to the rescue
Alex continued: “Everything happened so fast. The water brought in dirt and rubbish from the outside which piled up in our home. Thankfully, Aster Volunteers have been extremely helpful. They took out all the debris from the furniture and cleaned all the rooms, washrooms, kitchen and hall. They also went the extra mile and disinfected the entire house for us.
“One of my friends was gracious enough to allow us to stay in his home, where we are currently staying. We are all safe. Right now, we have to stay at my friend’s place, but we hope to move back to our home very soon.”
Fujairah was worst hit by the heaviest rains in almost three decades that drenched the eastern region for two days last week. Emergency teams from across the UAE were dispatched to support rescue operations in Fujairah, as well as parts of Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah emirate that were also affected. Hundreds were rescued and volunteers from different parts of the UAE signed up to help them.
Aster Volunteers came all the way from Dubai and they teamed up with Youth India Fujairah, a non-governmental organisation based in the emirate to help affected residents. The volunteers worked tirelessly and removed all the debris and dirt; they cleaned rooms, washrooms, kitchen, and also disinfected the flooded areas.
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Passport replacement support
Meanwhile, the Indian Social Club (ISC) and Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) in Fujairah have recently met with the Consulate General of India in Dubai to facilitate the replacement of passport and other vital documents lost or destroyed during the flood.
In a message sent to Gulf News on Friday, Dr Puthur Rahman, concurrent president of ISC and KMCC, said: “We are in discussions with the Indian consulate authorities with regards to replacing passports damaged in the flood. Anyone facing problems with their damaged passports can contact the club office on 09-222-1155 or 050-390-1330, so that we can coordinate with the consulate and request for a special consideration.
“We recently met with Indian consul general Dr Aman Puri to request for help for our Indian community in Fujairah. More than 100 Indians lost everything – some lost their passports and other personal documents. [Dr Puri] assured us that the consulate will do all necessary arrangements to fix the problems.”