UAE: Clearing ice from homes, water supply issues; some residents deal with hailstorm aftermath

by siennamileham70

Motorists file claims with insurance firms as icy rains smash car windshields

Photos & Videos: Supplied

Photos & Videos: Supplied

Published: Fri 16 Feb 2024, 6:00 AM

A sheet of white covered many parts of Al Ain as heavy rains and a hailstorm lashed the inland city earlier this week. While the rare weather painted the garden city snow-like white, residents are still grappling with its aftermath — days after the storm. These range from having no electricity and water at home to damaged cars.

Palestinian expat Mohamed Salim said his building’s basement parking flooded after the storm, damaging its water pumps. “The water pressure in our apartment is still very weak. We talked to the building manager about it, who said they were working on it.”

The water from the basement was cleared after three days. “Our neighbour’s situation is worse. Their electricity room was in the garage and got damaged. They have been managing with power generators,” said Salim.

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He described how his brother and he raced against time to retrieve their car from the basement. “We were lucky enough to get the car out, but in less than two minutes, the whole garage flooded with the rest of the cars still parked inside.”

Indian expat Shada Saleem, who was born and brought up in Al Ain, said she has never seen anything like this week’s hailstorm in the 25 years she has lived there.

“It sounded like someone was throwing stones at our window. When we got up and saw the ice, my husband and I were excited as we love winters and snowfall. On the other hand, we were scared about the damage it was causing,” said the expat.

Shada said her balcony flooded with chunks of ice.

“It looked like a white carpet. Some water was getting inside the house, too. We had to keep bedsheets all around the balcony … We opened the drainage so that the water could flow out, but since our area was already flooded, the process was really slow,” she said.

It was only on Wednesday that she was able to clear the mess.

Another worrying aspect for the couple was their car. “We watched helplessly as ice pounded our car.”

Their car has sustained some dents. They are waiting for a police report to claim damages from their insurance company.

Muhammad Almagboul, a Sudanese expat, woke up to the booming sound of thunder. Thinking it was just rain, he went back to sleep. When he woke up, his entire neighbourhood was covered in huge chunks of ice.

“I immediately went to check on my car. My rear window was totally smashed in,” he said.

Fortunately for Muhammad, his insurance will cover the damage.

For Heba Hussain, who moved to Al Ain from Abu Dhabi, the whole experience was unnerving. “Luckily for us, the storm didn’t cause much damage except for a few leaks here and there. Our car sustained some damages, but they were only dents.”

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