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Officials urged people to travel to the airport only if they had confirmed bookings
By Lipika Pelham
BBC News

Operations at Dubai airport are still severely disrupted as heavy rains continue to batter the United Arab Emirates and neighbouring countries.

The storm pounded the UAE on Tuesday, flooding roads and the runaway of the busy international airport.

Flash floods have now killed 20 people in Oman and one in the UAE.

Some inbound flights have resumed on Thursday, but on the whole Dubai international airport, a major travel hub, is barely functional.

Authorities at the world’s second-busiest airport said on Thursday that they had started receiving inbound flights at Terminal 1, used by foreign carriers, but that outbound flights continue to be delayed.

Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, early on Thursday, officials urged people to travel to the airport only if they had confirmed bookings.

The head of Dubai airport, Paul Griffiths, said: “It remains an incredibly challenging time. In living memory, I don’t think anyone has ever seen conditions like it.”

The surrounding roads remain gridlocked because of overcrowding with people trying to reach the airport.

On Wednesday, about 300 flights were cancelled and hundreds more were delayed.

The UAE recorded its heaviest rainfall in the 75 years that records have been kept, authorities have said. Up to 259.5mm (10.2in) of rain fell on the usually arid country on Tuesday.

Anne Wing, a British tourist who was with her husband and three children hoping to fly to London Heathrow, said: “It’s horrific, we are squashed in like animals – it is dangerous and inhumane.”

She added: “Passengers were shouting and rioting at the connection desk, there were no staff to be seen.”

She said her family had not eaten since lunchtime, and all that had been provided were some “small cartons of water”.

Airport authorities say that the staff are facing difficulties to get food to stranded passengers as all the roads leading to the airport are blocked by flood waters.

Many stranded passengers have taken to social media, urging for more information.

Other “very anxious” and disoriented passengers, some travelling with young children, have posted that despite confirmed booking, their tickets are not being processed, because “check-in/bag drop/passport control [are] not open.”

The Dubai airport, which last year served more than 80 million passengers, second only to Atlanta in the United States, warned recovery would take “some time”.

As rains continue to batter the region, footage from the centre of Dubai on Wednesday showed dozens of submerged vehicles on flooded roads, as well as long traffic jams elsewhere.

Authorities have warned that more thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds were forecast. In Oman, more than 1,400 people have been evacuated to shelters, while schools and government offices have been closed.

The UAE state news agency published a statement from President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan saying he had ordered authorities to assess the damage and provide support to families impacted by the storm.

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