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Transport firms, taxis hit hard

Sharjah Municipality workers pump out rain water from the Al Qassimia roundabout. (CHANDRA BALAN)

By VM Sathish

Businesses continued to face disruption yesterday as overnight thunderstorms forced many employees to stay at home.

Heavy rains caused flooding in parts of Sharjah, including the National Paints area, the BMW roundabout and Al Khan. Many vehicles got stranded on flooded roads and some were abandoned as recovery vehicles could not reach them.

The municipalities in Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman worked to control the flooding with dewatering equipment and removed mud and fallen trees from roads. The power supply to some buildings was affected, elevators jammed and some subways flooded. The number of shoppers visiting malls was down and deliveries of fruit, vegetables, dairy products and other foods were delayed.

"Rains and floods have affected everyone but transport companies have been hit badly," said Khalid bin Mubarak Al Jafla of Mubarak and Sons Transport, who is also the president of the Land Transport Association.

"Many of our major clients are unable to load or unload their goods, which are not insured against flood damage. More than 70 per cent of our fleet are not operating because of the flooding and business is down by 50 per cent, and the rain will cause further losses.

"Sometimes vehicles get damaged and we advise our drivers to avoid flooded roads and take alternative routes. Movements of cargo from a number of ports have also been affected."

Sharjah resident Chandraprakash Edamana said: "I did not go to work because there was water everywhere and I was not sure of reaching the office on time or being able to return home. In addition there were worrying weather forecasts and even e-mails predicting a storm."

Some taxi drivers in Sharjah and Ajman did not work because their companies told them they would be responsible for any damage caused by the floods.


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