Qatar's Ashghal prepares for the rainy season

Ashghal assures that renewed measures to avert and cope with flooding will be part of its rain preparedness programme.

A flooded carpark in a Doha building from last year, clear indication of inadequate drainage within the city.
A flooded carpark in a Doha building from last year, clear indication of inadequate drainage within the city.

Yesterday parts of the country received light rains, heralding the start of the wet season in Qatar.

While a welcome break from the dry heat of summer, the rainy season also brings with it the very real risk of flooding as Qatar’s inadequate drainage system is strained to accommodate the flash rain falls for which the region is known.

Last year the rains caused havoc with damage to numerous buildings, both new and established, including minor damage to the recently constructed Hamad International Airport, with a social media frenzy recording the damage.

This year however, Public Works Authority, Ashghal, has put in place numerous measures to not only cope with anticipated flooding but also to minimise damage.

Last month rain preparedness was discussed with the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) around ways to better coordinate the relevant entities, most importantly MME, the National Control Centre and Qatar Meteorology Department.

Included in the measures will be an SMS system whereby 395 Ashghal and MME employees will be alerted about potential rain and if the status of the alert level changes.

This will be after approving a system of escalating and decreasing the alert level between the two entities.

Implemented annually by Assets Affairs the rain preparedness also includes developing the Operation Management Centre to better cope with rain-related emergencies and to undergo team simulation training to deal with these emergencies.

With heavier rain on the way accompanied by strong winds reaching up to 25 knots, according to Qatar Meteorology Department (MET) the department has urged the avoidance of all sea activities until Saturday, as the weather conditions are expected to prevail until then.

Yesterday, minimal traffic congestion was reported on some of the major roads in the evening while some inner areas had minor waterlogging issues.

Ashghal assures that it has taken extensive steps to prevent or avert a reoccurrence of last year's flooding during the rainy season and included in the plan is increasing Call Centres and Customer Zone capacity for around the clock emergency response.

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