Four dead in UAE, Dubai airport still disrupted after storm


  • World
  • Friday, 19 Apr 2024

FILE PHOTO: People queue at a flight connection desk after a rainstorm hit Dubai, causing delays at the Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates, April 17, 2024. REUTERS/Staff.

DUBAI (Reuters) -Deaths from heavy rains earlier this week in the United Arab Emirates rose to four, authorities said on Friday, as well as flooding roads and jamming Dubai's international airport.

The storm first hit Oman at the weekend, killing at least 20 people, before pounding the UAE on Tuesday with its heaviest rains in 75 years of records.

Two Philippine women and one man died in their vehicles during flooding, the government in Manila said. An Emirati man in his 70s had also died when his vehicle was swept away by floods in the northern Ras Al Khaimah emirate.

Scientists blame increasingly common extreme weather events, such as the rains in UAE and Oman, on human-led global warming.

Dubai International Airport, one of the world's busiest and a hub for travel around the Middle East, was still struggling to clear a backlog of flights three days after the storm.

It was limiting arrivals for two days until Sunday.

Flagship carrier Emirates, one of the world's biggest international airlines, said check-in was suspended for people planning to transit via Dubai though those with the city as a final destination could travel as usual.

As of Friday morning, 1,478 flights to and from Dubai had been cancelled since Tuesday, approximately 30% of all flights, according to aircraft flight tracking website FlightRadar24.

In the UAE capital Abu Dhabi, state carrier Etihad said flight operations were back to normal.

The main road connecting Dubai, the most populous emirate, with Abu Dhabi remained partially closed on Friday, while an alternative route saw vehicles driving through low water on the hard shoulder past abandoned cars and buses.

In the UAE's north, including in the emirate of Sharjah, local media reported people were reportedly still trapped in homes. Residents said there was extensive damage to businesses.

Rains are uncommon in the UAE, which is known for its hot desert climate and temperatures that can soar above 50 degrees Celsius in the summer.

The UAE's National Center of Meteorology said rain may return by late Monday, though predicted it would be light with a chance of heavy rain again on Tuesday in some areas.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell, Clauda Tanios and Federico Maccioni in Dubai; Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales in Manila; Writing by Yousef Saba; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Sharon Singleton and Andrew Cawthorne)

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