Abu Dhabi municipality workers out in force after devastating storm

ABU DHABI // After storms and torrential rain, almost 80 per cent of the clean-up across the emirate of Abu Dhabi was complete as the public and private sectors worked together to deal with the damage caused by this week’s extreme weather. The municipality believed the remaining work would be completed on Friday, with staff […]

ABU DHABI // After storms and torrential rain, almost 80 per cent of the clean-up across the emirate of Abu Dhabi was complete as the public and private sectors worked together to deal with the damage caused by this week’s extreme weather.

The municipality believed the remaining work would be completed on Friday, with staff on duty day and night.

Spokesman Adel Al Rabeea said: “I hope by Friday you wouldn’t see anything around.”

Since the heavy weather began, the municipality has dealt with 836 cases through its emergency phone lines, and by Thursday night had signed off on 80 per cent of those jobs, Mr Al Rabeea said.

The civic body made every effort to deal with the complaints in the quickest time possible, he said.

Mr Al Rabeea said more than 300 municipal tankers and pumps were used in the clean-up drive in and around Abu Dhabi Island.

“More than 1,000 municipal employees are involved in the post-storm cleaning drive,” he said. “Cleaning has to continue day and night in coordination with police, Musanada, centre of waste management and the private sector as well. Now, we all are one body and fighting the crisis altogether.”

He said the drainage system of Abu Dhabi city was very good, and that no waterlogging issues were reported.

Mr Al Rabeea said that some industrial estates that did not have the drainage systems to cope with such a large quantity of water faced problems, but all were sorted out efficiently.

According to the municipality, the largest rainwater accumulations were reported in New Al Falah area, on the city’s outskirts.

The municipality was assessing the situation in the area to stop a repeat of the flooding there.

Musabbah Mubarak Al Murar, acting general manager of Abu Dhabi City Municipality, said the flood response “reflects the municipality’s societal responsibility and its keenness to provide the required logistic support, and full care to all residents”.

“The emergency teams assess residents’ conditions on regular basis to meet their needs and ensure their comfort and safety.”

In Al Ain, the municipality also set its sights on ensuring normality by Friday.

“Around 650 people were engaged in cleaning and addressing the waterlogging,” said Sultan Al Shamsi, public relations manager at the municipality.

“Water-logged houses and fallen trees were the major issues.”

He said municipality staff expected to work into tomorrow to complete clean-up operations.

An area around the Etisalat headquarters in the capital was cordoned off after strong winds, which had reached speeds of 126kph, damaged the spherical structure on top of the building.

The company said it took all measures to verify the safety of the building and that “there is no reason for concern”, expecting the problem to be fixed soon.

In the Northern Emirates, families stranded by floodwaters were rescued and others taken to hospitals by the air wing of the Ministry of Interior.

The air wing had a busy couple of days and rescued dozens of people trapped by floods or injured in road accidents.

In one case, an elderly man who was trapped in a car in a valley was lifted by crane, and a family of 12 were rescued after they were stranded in Al Maqam desert in Sharjah, the ministry said yesterday.

Col Salem Al Suwaidi, deputy director of the air wing, said: “The humanitarian missions that the air ambulance aircraft carried out from their base in Sharjah in the past two days led to the rescue of 63 people. Efforts were coordinated with police stations throughout the country.”

He said the rescue operations were concentrated in Al Maqam valley in the emirate of Sharjah.

It was the scene of several rescue operations throughout the day on Wednesday, Mr Al Suwaidi said.

Operations led to the rescue of an Emirati family of nine and another family of five, a group of seven Asians, another group of five Emirati young men, a family of 12 including six women, four children and two infants, and a family of nine was transported to the other side of the valley.

Col Saif Salem Al Dah, head of the air wing in the Northern Emirates, urged the public not to leave their homes unless in cases of emergency.

He said the public should avoid the valleys, floods and the sea, and use security equipment, life jackets and GPS devices.

The Emirates Red Crescent said on Thursday it had accommodated 141 citizens and residents in Sharjah, Fujairah and Al Ain whose houses were damaged, acting on directives of Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, Ruler’s Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the ERC.

anwar@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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