Deadly flash floods and airport disruptions grip Gulf states

Severe rainfall has been lashing Gulf states, leading to flash floods that claimed the lives of 20 individuals and caused disruptions at the world’s second-busiest airport.

Dubai airport reported significant challenges on Wednesday due to the heavy rains, urging passengers to refrain from arriving as runways became inundated with water. Tragically, a man lost his life when his vehicle was engulfed in flash floods further north.

In Oman, the toll rose to 19 as rescuers discovered the body of a girl in Saham. Dubai airport experienced the cancellation of over 270 flights, with an additional 370 flights experiencing delays on Wednesday, according to Flight Aware data.

The airport, crucial for global connectivity, cautioned that recovery efforts would be prolonged. Authorities issued warnings of impending thunderstorms, heavy rainfall, and strong winds, with many low-lying areas still submerged.

The United Arab Emirates, neighboring Oman, encountered its most significant rainfall event in 75 years on Tuesday, with 254.8mm falling in less than 24 hours. This surpassed the annual average rainfall for the country. Meanwhile, Dubai faced extraordinary scenes of flooded roads and stranded vehicles.

Although no fatalities were reported in Dubai, a tragic incident occurred in Ras al-Khaimah where an elderly man lost his life to a flash flood. Despite the easing of rain by Tuesday evening, disruptions persisted at Dubai International Airport, necessitating diversions and cancellations.

Emirates and FlyDubai, major carriers in the region, suspended operations and check-in services due to the weather. The National Emergency Crisis Management Authority advised people to stay indoors, prompting work-from-home directives and remote learning for schools in the UAE.

In Oman, over 1,400 individuals sought refuge in shelters, while schools and government offices closed as a precautionary measure. The devastating impact of the floods was highlighted by the loss of 10 schoolchildren and an adult in Sharqiya province on Sunday.

The effects of climate change exacerbate such extreme weather events, underscoring the urgent need for global emissions reduction efforts. As temperatures continue to rise, the risk of such disasters escalates, emphasizing the importance of proactive measures to mitigate climate change effects.

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