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Bahrain battling floods chaos

Manama, December 1, 2011

Almost an inch of rain soaked Bahrain throughout Tuesday and into yesterday (November 30), causing misery for residents and shopkeepers still coming to terms with the downpour 24 hours later.

At the height of flooding water was said to be almost knee-deep in some places, with at least one major highway experiencing tailbacks hours after the rains stopped, due to the absence of a storm water drainage system.

In Manama, areas around the Shaikh Khalifa Avenue and Shaikh Abdulla Road were among the worst affected, with vehicles stranded in a sea of rainwater yesterday morning and some people unable to leave their homes.

Traffic was queuing from the flyover at Tubli all the way down the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway, past the turnoff to Isa Town, as a result of a pool covering two eastbound lanes during rush hour.

Twenty-five tankers were deployed nationwide to suck up rainwater, according to a senior municipal official.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Affairs' Meteorology Directorate said 24.9mm of rainfall was recorded.

"The rain seems to have passed for the time being, but high-velocity winds touching 25 knots at times are expected to continue for several days," he said.

The spokesman said it was also expected to get colder by the weekend with the minimum temperature reaching 14C.

One shop owner on Shaikh Khalifa Avenue said residents and shop owners in the area had been pleading with municipal and Works Ministry officials to take steps to prevent water-logging.

"Nothing happened and here we are suffering again," he said.

Quresh Khan Buneri, another shop-owner who also lives on Shaikh Khalifa Avenue, said he had been calling municipal officials repeatedly to remove the water.

"They promised they would send tankers, but nothing has happened," he said. "Water has entered several shops and restaurants on the road and many residents are unable to leave their homes."

He complained that the same scenario is repeated every year.

"Each time, we make a representation to the ministry and the municipality hoping things will change, but that does not happen," he said.

An Indian resident on Shaikh Abdulla Road said his children were unable to go to school as a result of the flooding.

He said he had to wade through almost knee-deep water to go to work nearby.

However, Works Ministry sanitary engineering and planning projects directorate acting director Asma Murad said officials were now on a war-footing to clear water-logged areas.

"Scores of tankers are at work virtually non-stop," she said. "We are aware rains cause a problem, but creating a storm water drainage system requires heavy investment."

She said the thrust of the ministry was on sewerage because that was a health-related issue. "However, we have a storm water drainage plan that we will implement soon," she added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | floods | rain | accident |

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