Qatar: Flood accountability in question

Heavy rain in Qatar have once again left chaos in its wake as Ashghal's rain preparedness programme comes under doubt and questions around accountability remain unanswered.

Truck removes rain water on Al Waab Street. (Lesley Walker)
Truck removes rain water on Al Waab Street. (Lesley Walker)

As Qatar once again suffers under a deluge during its rainy season, doubts around rain preparedness emerge.

Forecasters say that only scattered showers are expected in parts of Qatar today, after two days of strong winds and pouring rain that once again saw Doha brought to a standstill as roads flooded owing to inadequate draining.

The downpour that blocked out visibility and affected major malls such as Villaggio and Landmark, IKEA, Souq Waqif and even a local hospital, also caused a handful of schools to remained closed yesterday owing to flooding.

The floods had emergency crews working around the clock suctioning up water from roundabouts, major streets and tunnels in an effort to ease the logjams and chaos caused by the rain.

As of last night, QNA said some 17 million gallons of water had been pulled from Doha, Al Rayyan, Umm Salal, Al Khor, Al Dhakhira, Al Daayen, Al Shamal, Al Shahaniya and Al Wakrah.

While the weather appears to be making a turn for the better, questions of accountability however remain, with many people asking why the recent downpours had such a crippling effect on the country.

Last year an inquiry was launched by officials in the wake of similar chaos and damage, yet the results of this investigation have not been publicly shared, Doha News reported.

This year however, Qatar’s public works authority, Ashghal unveiled a detailed rain preparedness strategy, assuring the public that it would be well prepared to cope with any flood-related eventuality.

The rain preparedness plan included simulation training for staff, equipment readiness for areas especially without drainage, and maintenance of the nation’s 45,000 manholes and numerous tunnel pumping stations.

However, areas like Abu Hamour and Muathir, home of hard-hit animal shelter QAWS, were still left waterlogged and so far there has been no official comment about why the rain preparedness plan fell short of expectations.

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