Home NEWS International News Dubai airport chaos as UAE and Oman reel from deadly storms

Dubai airport chaos as UAE and Oman reel from deadly storms

Heavy rain has continued to batter Gulf states, causing deadly flash floods and disrupting flights at the world’s second-busiest airport.

Dubai International Airport warned of “very challenging conditions” and advised some passengers not to turn up due to areas being inundated by water.

Channel 1

Further north, a man died when his car was caught in flash floods.

In Oman, rescuers found the body of a girl in Saham, bringing the death toll in the country to 19 since Sunday.

On Wednesday, about 300 flights to and from Dubai International Airport – a major hub for connecting flights to every continent – were cancelled, according to Flight Aware data, and hundreds more were delayed.

The airport, which last year served more than 80 million passengers, second only to Atlanta in the United States, warned recovery would take “some time”.

On Wednesday it advised against visiting Terminal 1 without confirmation from airlines and avoiding trips to the airport.

Emirates, a major international airline headquartered in Dubai, suspended check-in for passengers departing from the city until Thursday.

Authorities warned that more thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds were forecast, with many low-lying areas still under water.

The United Arab Emirates, Oman’s northern neighbour, experienced on Tuesday its largest rainfall event since records began 75 years ago.

The National Centre of Meteorology announced that 254.8mm (9.7in) had fallen on Khatm al-Shakla, in the region of al-Ain, over less than 24 hours.

The country averages 140-200 mm of rainfall per year, while Dubai typically receives only 97mm. The monthly average for April is only about 8mm.

Footage from the centre of Dubai showed dozens of submerged vehicles on a flooded part of Sheikh Zayed Road, as well as long traffic jams elsewhere on the 12-lane highway.

‘It’s been total chaos’

Kate and Andrew Golding were among several British tourists stranded at the main international airport. They had been there for 12 hours.

“I’m trying to get on another flight,” Andrew, 62, told BBC News. “My wife, Kate, is standing in another queue as we’re trying to hedge our bets.”

The couple from Kent were on holiday to celebrate Kate’s 60th birthday, a trip Andrew says she will now “never forget”.

“It has been worse I think than anyone expected, but the system within the airport has completely fallen apart and Emirates, which I consider to be one of finest airlines – no staff, no information, no coordination, no professionalism, no care – no disaster planning at Emirates, it’s weird – big companies normally plan for these events.

“It’s been total chaos.

“People are sleeping in the lounges, on the floors, food packets everywhere. It’s just been a pretty filthy experience really.”

BBC News has contacted Emirates for comment.

‘Passengers shouting’

Elsewhere at the airport, Anne Wing, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, was with her husband and three children hoping to fly to London Heathrow.

They arrived at the airport at 08:00 local time (04:00 GMT) for their 11:25 flight, and were initially told it had been delayed by an hour.

“We have spoken to no-one from Emirates since 08:00 this morning,” she said.

“Passengers were shouting and rioting at the connection desk, there were no staff to be seen.”

“It’s horrific, we are squashed in like animals – it is dangerous and inhumane,” she added. “It’s absolutely ridiculous here”.

She said her family had not eaten since lunchtime, and all that had been provided were some “small cartons of water”.

The BBC was also contacted by passengers who were diverted to another Dubai airport, known as Dubai World Central, who described similar scenes and a lack of proper meals and water.

+ posts