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Heavy floods in UAE, Afghanistan, Pakistan, 135 people killed

Afghanistan’s disaster management department reported that approximately 70 people lost their lives due to heavy rains that have battered the country over the past five days, exacerbating flash floods triggered by spring downpours.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Pakistan also faced severe spring downpours, resulting in 65 fatalities from storm-related incidents. The rainfall rate in Pakistan was nearly double the historical average, leading to widespread devastation.

In Dubai, the flagship Emirates airline halted all check-ins as staff and passengers grappled with flooded access roads and suspended metro services caused by the heavy rains.

The dry winter in Afghanistan desiccated the earth, making it more susceptible to flash floods during the spring rains. Disaster management spokesman Janan Sayeq stated that 56 others were injured, with over 2,600 houses damaged or destroyed and 95,000 acres of farmland wiped away.

The United Nations had previously warned of Afghanistan’s vulnerability to extreme weather events, exacerbated by climate change. Recent decades of war have left the country ill-equipped to handle such disasters.

In Pakistan, heavy downpours led to flash floods and collapsed houses, resulting in the deaths of at least 28 people, primarily in the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Dubai experienced record rains, causing chaos on its highways and prompting warnings for passengers to avoid travel unless necessary. One casualty was reported after a man was swept away in his car in Ras Al-Khaimah. Dubai Airport, one of the world’s busiest, faced delays and diversions due to the adverse weather conditions.

Climatologist Friederike Otto suggested that global warming likely exacerbated the severity of the storms, underscoring the urgent need for climate action.

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