Heavy rains kill 18 in Oman as flash floods lash UAE

Rescue teams search for two missing people in Oman as bad weather disrupts travel in the United Arab Emirates.

Heavy rains lashed the UAE and Oman
Heavy rains lashed the UAE and Oman, flooding portions of major highways and leaving vehicles abandoned on roadways [Jon Gambrell/AP]

Heavy rains and flash floods have swept parts of the Gulf region, killing at least 18 people in Oman and causing travel disruption in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

In Oman, the death toll announced on Tuesday included at least nine schoolchildren and their driver whose vehicle was washed away by the floodwaters in Samad A’Shan on Sunday.

The National Committee for Emergency Management said rescue teams were still searching for two missing people.

The government gave administrative staff in public and private sectors the day off due to the bad weather conditions in several provinces, while remote work was recommended in other parts of the sultanate. Residents were also urged to evacuate to shelters if they felt they were in danger or asked by authorities to do so.

Police and soldiers were deployed to the hardest-hit province of Ash Sharqiyah North to transport citizens out of flooded areas, according to state media.

Flooding in UAE

Meanwhile, heavy rainfall also lashed the neighbouring UAE on Tuesday, flooding portions of major highways and leaving vehicles abandoned on roadways across Dubai.

The rains began overnight, leaving massive ponds on streets as whipping winds disrupted flights at Dubai international airport.

Schools across the country largely shut before the storm and government employees were working remotely if able. Many workers stayed home as well, though some ventured out, with the unfortunate stalling out their vehicles in deeper-than-expected water covering some roads.

Authorities sent tanker trucks into the streets and highways to pump away the water.

Initial estimates suggested more than 30mm (1.2 inches) of rain fell over the morning in Dubai, with as much as 128mm (5 inches) of rain expected throughout the day.

Rain also fell in Bahrain, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies