03/10/2016, 09.51
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UAE, storm hits desert throwing population into chaos

All schools, private and governmental, closed for the day. Yesterday there were 254 road accidents. Emergency services received over 3 thousand calls in a few hours. High alert for possible flooding. The UAE among the 10 driest countries in the world.


Dubai (AsiaNews / Agencies) - All schools, public and private, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), will remian closed today following yesterday’s freak wave of exceptionally bad weather, with torrential rains and flooded roads.

The Dubai police - one of seven emirates that comprise the country, together with Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain - reported 253 accidents. Emergency services received 3,200 calls between 6 am and one in the afternoon from stranded motorists and people in need. Users have posted videos and films of the unusual phenomenon on social networks and YouTube.

Director of the Traffic Department, Col. Saif Muhair Al Mazroui, has issued an alert and invites motorists and cyclists to remain vigilant. Poor visibility and wet surfaces increase the risk of accidents and the forecast is for continued instability.

Yesterday the Ministry of Education ordered the closure of all educational institutions in the territory; the measure will remain in force even for the whole day today, both for government schools and private institutions. For much of the morning yesterday the Abu Dhabi airport remained closed and flights only recommenced in the late afternoon. Even Dubai airport experienced numerous delays and cancellations.

Trading was halted on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange, because many among investors and operators were unable to reach the building because of traffic disruptions across the emirate.

The bad weather is forecast to continue for the day today with high intensity phenomena. Temperatures have also fallen sharply, with values ​​below the seasonal average. The local Civil Protection has issued the alert for possible floods, in particular in the east and in the mountainous areas.

The UAE is one of 10 countries in the world with the highest rate of drought; the annual rainfall rate is about 78 mm, about 15 times less than the average figure recorded in Britain.

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