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Rain, rain, go away

Rain, rain, go away

A downpour in the UAE usually spells flooded offices, blocked roads and gridlocked traffic. Why?

February 28, 2010 3:00 by

Kipp has grumbled and whined extensively about the problem with rains in the UAE, and we are compelled to do so again.

The heavy rain on Saturday in the UAE has once again flooded the roads with water, caused traffic jams, and basically brought the whole place to a standstill. Undoubtedly the downpour on Saturday, which was accompanied by thunderstorms, was one of the heaviest the country has seen. But after all these years, the roads are still not equipped to deal with a single night’s shower. There is no draining system to clear the waterlogged streets, and drivers struggle to avoid accidents.

One of our colleagues, who was stuck late in office on Saturday, couldn’t venture out of the building because she would have been more than knee deep in water. Some of the cars on the street were actually floating, she said.

Kipp had also written previously about how a cab driver told us that the new range of taxis in Dubai will suffer heavy damages if exposed to waterlogged roads. And if his taxi developed problems, he would have to pay huge fines. Because of that, the driver refrained from taking passengers to certain areas.

Rains have become at least a yearly feature (if not more) in the country. So why is nothing done to improve the nation’s infrastructure in relation to the weather? Is it too late to install a drain system on the roads? Or would the cost outweigh the benefits?

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  1. Ahmed on February 28, 2010 3:14 pm


    To make you happy, more storms and heavy rain are bound to hit the UAE late Monday and Tuesday (Mar 1-2, 2010).

    Maybe this time you can take some measures and plan for it.

    Emirates Meteorology

  2. Eric on March 1, 2010 7:26 am

    That the roads do not cope isn’t new but the scale of the disruption seems to decrease a little, at least on the roads I use. What I fail to understand is how new buildings like Ibn Battuta or the Dubai Mall still suffer from flooding, forcing stores to shut and making car parks impassable. Add to this the fact established hotels see their lobbies still flood and the conclusion is clear: lack of planning and poor engineering make a mockery of the success story that is Dubai. We live on a movie set, designed to impress but not to stand the test of time. Dubai deserves better than that.

  3. Andrew on March 1, 2010 1:29 pm

    Eric, Dubai reaps what it sows. As you say it’s designed to impress, little more.

  4. Dubai Dude on March 1, 2010 11:05 pm

    It is really strange to note that Dubai and UAE are so incapable of handling the rains. Since last 3 years rain falls are increasing in frequency and strength of the government has not taken any noticeable steps to overcome damages due to rain.

    Ironically, the municipality still use tankers and buckets to clear water-logging from streets.

  5. Miss Anne Thropic on March 2, 2010 11:50 am

    When shiny new buildings are thrown up in world record time by overworked, underpaid labourers who just want to go home, is it any wonder they leak like sieves when it rains?

    If you were paid Dh500 a month to work six-day weeks and had to spend your limited free time in a Sonapur labour camp, how much effort would you put in to quality construction?

  6. Andrew on March 2, 2010 1:31 pm

    I’ve been here (on and off) since late 1993, and inregards to drainage absolutely nothing has changed. Things are badly scoped and planned, and badly constructed. The only part of the process that’s done relatively competently is the architechting, but even then more emphasis is placed on style rather than substance – or god forbid, usability.

    For all this country has changed in the last 15 odd years, really it hasn’t changed all that much.


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