For the next couple of days, Muzammil Khan, a 'roti' maker, will be busy draining water from his tandoor instead of baking bread. This is because his traditional oven, like many others in various parts of Kalba, is filling up with stagnant water due to the ongoing flooding caused by the torrential rain that hit the Eastern Coast of the country.

“We're constantly draining water from the tandoor. The entire area is flooded, and water is seeping into the oven from the ground. We find ourselves here, draining water around 15 times a day. Allowing water to sit in the oven would ruin it,” said Muzammil Khan, Tandoor Roti Maker at Al Qeram Bakery in Kalba.

The bakery sold nearly a thousand breads every day and was the lifeline for hundreds residing in the vicinity. “We sell the roti for Dh1 and people working and residing in the neighbourhood depended on us for lunch and dinner. Based on my previous experience, I don’t think I will be able to light my oven for the next one month,” said Khan.

“We will face a loss of more than Dh50,000 as we will have to stop our operations until the water completely subsides,” added Khan.

With small businesses, many medium-scale businesses like building materials, engineering works, furniture, and automobile garages have also faced significant losses amounting to millions collectively.

A Khaleej Times team ventured into the Industrial district of Kalba, navigating through stagnant water, to assess the losses incurred by businesses owners in small-scale factories, warehouses, and establishments.

Nabil Mohammed, manager at Al Fesoul Metallic Doors and Windows, said that their workshop and production unit have been submerged in water that has risen up to 3 feet. “We have suffered significant losses in terms of expensive machinery. Fortunately, metals are resistant to water damage, so they remain safe. However, items like paints, decorative materials, and other goods are likely spoiled. The impact on these products is a cause for concern,” said Nabeel Mohammed.

A furniture factory in Kalba has suffered significant losses, including inventory, newly manufactured products, and machinery valued at a few hundred thousand. “Currently, we are unable to assess the full extent of the damage. We have left the unit as it is. Once the flooding recedes, we can accurately estimate our losses,” said the manager at Fawzi Johar Carpentry.

“Our primary losses are the machines, specifically the electronic and software-installed ones. We're uncertain about the possibility of repair at this point,” added the manager.

Cars submerged

Towing and recovery vehicles are operating round the clock to extract vehicles submerged under the flooding. The inundated streets have left numerous cars stranded, presenting a challenging task and the recovery teams are employing specialised equipment to carefully lift and tow these submerged vehicles.

“In the past three days, our team has successfully extracted over 80 vehicles. As soon as the heavy rain began, water quickly accumulated in low-lying neighbourhoods, submerging vehicles. Car owners reached out to us urgently to prevent additional damage and need for our towing and recovery services,” said Shahid Kamal, a member of the vehicle recovery team operating in Kalba.

“After lifting the submerged cars onto our trucks, we carefully relocate them to higher ground, away from the water. Subsequently, a mechanic assesses the extent of the damage, evaluating the condition of each vehicle,” said Kamal adding that for a few cars, the damage is too much, and they won't be repairable.

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