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UAE floods: Dubai developers offer free repairs, vow action after record rainfall

Unprecedented Rainfall Crisis
  • Explore how record rainfall has led to flooding in the UAE, prompting Dubai developers to take swift action to address the aftermath.

UAE floods: Dubai developers offer free repairs, vow action after record rainfall

Residential communities and villas in Dubai have suffered the brunt of the record-breaking downpours in the UAE this week, with many properties being submerged in floodwater.

Many families across the emirate have seen their belongings destroyed, while some have been forced to evacuate their homes after the highest ever-recorded rainfall in over 75 years brought country to a standstill.

As the country works overtime to clear water-clogged streets, felled trees, and abandoned cars, property developers have said they also are doing their bit to help residents in affected homes and neighborhoods.

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A person stands surrounded by flood water caused by heavy rains, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 17, 2024. (Reuters)

Free home repairs
Emaar properties said it will repair homes damaged in the Dubai rains and floods at no cost to the residents.

The Dubai-based company said on Friday that it would repair all old and new homes within Emaar communities if damaged by the unprecedented downpour that brought the country to a near standstill.

“…I am pleased to announce that Emaar will undertake the repair of all properties within our communities that have been damaged by the recent rains at its own cost to ensure that our residents can return to their daily lives as swiftly and smoothly as possible,” Emaar founder Mohamed Alabbar said in the statement.

“…as a responsible company, we undertake to provide all possible support in such situations including complete repair of our customers’ homes,” the founder said.

The Emirati owned company also said dedicated teams are coordinating with local authorities to assess and restore damaged properties and communities. This includes clearing water logging.

Residents with damaged properties can contact the call center to file their claim.

Emaar operates the world’s largest mall, Dubai Mall, and built the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. It also built and operates a range of residential communities and shopping centers across the city, and accounts for 30 percent of Dubai’s property market.

It is a Public Joint Stock Company (PJSC) listed on the Dubai Financial Market.

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A person walks in flood water caused by heavy rains, with the Burj Khalifa tower visible in the background, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 17, 2024. (Reuters)

Prompt action

DAMAC, another popular Dubai-based real estate developer, told Al Arabiya English that it worked round the clock with the local government authorities and private firms to safeguard its residents.

“To ensure the safety and safe-guarding of our residents and their properties, we have been working round the clock by liaising with all governmental and private bodies,” a DAMAC spokesperson said Friday.

They reportedly deployed several tankers to collect floodwaters and maintained direct lines to hear from residents.

The day after the storm, the DAMAC spokesperson said that major accumulation of flood water was drained from the roads and sand removal trucks were deployed. “This helped us ensure that residents were not stuck on the roads due to the flooding. Our landscaping team were also active to clear the aftereffects of the winds and storm,” the spokesperson added.

“Our ground staff, with strong support from the local authorities worked tirelessly to ensure that the communities were up and running in a matter of hours after the storm hit, to ensure that there was no disruption to the communities and its members.”

The teams on the ground will carry fogging treatment and routine pest control in the water features to “contain infestation of any kind,” the spokesperson said.

The DAMAC official added that their upcoming projects and developments have not been affected by the flooding and that the safety of their workers were ensured.

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Cars drive through a flooded street during a rain storm in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, April 16, 2024. (Reuters)

Temporary accomodation

Hotels across Dubai reported a surge in guests looking to escape flooded homes, low on supplies and some without water and electricity access.

Near Mudon, one of the worst affected areas of Tuesday’s record rainfall, Sid Sattanathan, general manager of the Radisson Hotel in Damac Hills, told Al Arabiya English that the hotel has been “very, very busy.”

“We are almost full because of the flooding,” he said. “People who have issues at home – especially in Mudon – have come to stay.”

“Also, restaurant sales have doubled as there are no food deliveries (because of the weather). People are turning to hotels.”

But, Sattanathan said the hotel has, in turn, seen food supplies dwindle because of the demand and the struggle of getting supplies through flood-stricken roads to the hotel.

“We almost ran out of food because we had so many guests,” he said. “We are in a strategic location, so we have seen a lot of demand. Our team had to be really creative and went to the local supermarket to get supplies.”

The record rainfall meant many members of staff had to sleep in the hotel as they could not venture on the roads to head home.

“We turned our meeting rooms into bedrooms to house our team members as they could not travel,” said Sattanathan.

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People look out at floodwater covering a major road in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP)

Financial assistance, discounts

Emirati businessman Khalaf Ahmad al-Habtoor said he would donate more than $4 million to assist UAE nationals in repairing damaged homes.

The Habtoor Group, which owns several hotels in Dubai, reportedly provided free hotel stays for affected Emirati families.

Other hotels have offered discounted rates to Dubai residents.

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Vehicles drive on a flooded road during torrential rain in the Gulf Emirate of Dubai on April 16, 2024. (AFP)

Country-wide impact

UAE financial capital Dubai and neighboring Sharjah were most affected by the rain-storm that was the highest ever in a 24-hour period since climate data recording began in 1949.

Although remote working and learning, and weather warnings, were put in place by the government ahead of time, the downpour affected everything from homes to public spaces and parking lots.

Low-lying areas saw high levels of stagnant water, while many of the country’s world-class highway systems were gridlocked. Motorists were trapped in vehicles submerged under water or stranded on the roadside due to the rising water levels around them.

On Friday, Filipino officials confirmed to the media that three UAE residents had died from the weather. Two women suffocated inside their vehicle during the flooding while one man died when his vehicle fell into a sinkhole. The latest reported death brings the death toll to at least four after a 70-year-old man was swept away in his vehicle in Ras al-Khaimah.

Public transportation networks also came to a halt, with water levels and damage to metro station infrastructure impacting travel.

Flights were also disrupted by the weather, with some of the country’s international airports slowly restarting service on Friday for select travelers.

The UAE President has ordered a review of the country’s infrastructure, directed support be provided to families impacted by the severe weather, and ordered the transfer of affected families to safe locations.

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A view of aeroplanes parked on a flooded tarmac seen through a plane’s window at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates, April 16, 2024, is seen in this screen grab obtained from social media. (Reuters)

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