DUBAI – Heavy rains and flooding forced the annual airshow in Dubai to close early on its last day Thursday while schools in the desert Gulf state were ordered shut.
“The Dubai Airshow is closed for now, we advise people to refrain from traveling to the site,” organizers said in an emailed statement.
Participants and visitors to the airshow that kicked off on Sunday posted on social networks pictures and videos of flooded exhibition halls.
No announcements of new deals had been expected Thursday as most manufacturers had on Wednesday given final figures of contracts sealed during the event.
As the turbulent weather swept across Gulf states, the United Arab Emirates ministry of education ordered public and private schools shut to ensure “students’ safety,” according to a statement carried by the official WAM news agency.
Local media reported several accidents that brought traffic to a near-halt in several areas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Local media had reported Sunday that one man was killed when floods swept through a valley in the northern Ras al-Khaimah emirate.
Flash floods sparked by torrential rain have hit other Gulf neighbors, some of which normally experience such low precipitation that religious leaders often organize special prayers for rain.
In Saudi Arabia, seven people were killed in three days of rain, the kingdom’s civil defense authority said on Wednesday, adding that five others were missing.
Meanwhile in Kuwait, civil defense authorities announced two people were killed as the amount of rainfall reached 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) in two days — Monday and Tuesday — equal to the average annual rainfall in the emirate.
Heavy rains have also been reported in Oman, Qatar and Bahrain.
Source: Middle East Online.