06 Jan Six dead as flash floods cause destruction across parts of the Middle East
Flash floods have caused destruction across parts of the Middle East after days of heavy rain, and have affected thousands of people across Oman, Iran, Kuwait, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The heavy rainfall began from the beginning of the year, with further heavy rain across the 1st and 3rd January that has worsened the situation.
Six deaths in Oman have so far been announced by the Civil Defence, with 20 people needing rescuing. The emergency services across various countries in the Middle East have been working to rescue and help those affected.
In the United Arab Emirates, emergency teams rescued three people in Sharjah after a vehicle was swept away by floods. Videos shared across social media have shown helicopter rescue teams trying to reach people from the roof of a vehicle trapped in flood waters in Wadi Al-Bayh in Ras Al-Khaimah.
Over in Kuwait, the Fire Service said teams responded to over 100 calls for help and have so far rescued 106 people who were stranded on flooded roads and in houses following heavy rainfall.
In Saudi Arabia, local media Civil Defence reported roads were flooded in Eastern Province and areas of Dammam city as emergency teams conducted flood rescues in Rumah and Huraymila, among others.
The heavy rainfall is not expected and previously countries across the Middle east have focused on combatting drought instead of rainfall.
Previously cloud seeding measures had been deployed to tackle the rising risk of drought, and reduce the possibility of wildfire. However, following the heavy rainfall this may now be having an opposite effect.
With heavy rain, there would be no need for the added rainfall from cloud seeding which could potentially lead to saturation and flooding. So far, the UAE’s total investment in rain making projects is $15 million, as part of the country’s “quest to ensure water security.”