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Natural Disasters and Risks in the United Arab Emirates Report

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Updated: Sep 3rd, 2020


It is imperative to mention that impact of natural disasters has been increasing over the years, and many scholars have focused on the research of this subject matter. They can be described as events that are suddenly caused by nature, lead to losses of lives, and affect the infrastructure. It is believed that the UAE is located in a relatively safe region when it comes to natural disasters because of the stable climate.

However, some of the core aspects are frequently overlooked, and several issues that are currently present should be discussed. Some of the incidents were not expected, and the governments have devoted enormous attention to preventive measures to guarantee the safety and well-being of the population. It would be reasonable to review the literature on this subject matter to get a better understanding of possible risks and how they are managed.


Preventive Measures

It is necessary to understand that the number of natural disasters is increasing because of an increase in the population, and a rise in building density. The number of people in urban areas is much higher, and it makes them exposed to such incidents. The National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology is responsible for monitoring such events and issuing warnings. The issue that the UAE has to deal with at the moment is that the population is incredibly diverse, and it can complicate the communication (Al Hmoudi and Aziz 131).

Therefore, it would be reasonable to establish a particular system that is based on codes to ensure that any individual can warn others about possible dangers. It can be hard to define relationships between pieces of information because of differences in terrain. It is imperative to conduct regular training to ensure that the population is aware of how the latest technologies may be utilized for reporting, and how to identify particular natural disasters. Al Hmoudi and Aziz suggest that natural hazards in the UAE should be separated into four groups (131).


Scholars have analyzed available data, and they suggest that the Emirate of Fujairah is affected the most. One of the most significant aspects that should not be overlooked is that the number of such activities in 2011 has been disproportional, and close to forty-nine percent of events happened during that year. One may argue that their magnitude is not significant, but an increase in frequency is quite problematic and should be acknowledged.

Therefore, scientists suggest that the need to develop particular hazard maps should not be overlooked. Moreover, it is suggested that it is paramount to focus on such factors as historical events, fault lines, and slope, and they are given the most weight. Such events take place in the mountains, and this aspect increases the risk of possible complications. Plate boundaries are quite problematic in the Emirate of Fujairah, and crustal faults are also crucial (Yagoub 8).

A researcher states that the fault fracture has been caused by a particular collision. One of the tectonic plates still conflicts with CIM, and the area close to the Oman thrust is not stable. Therefore, citizens should be aware of the dangers associated with mountain regions Yagoub suggests that intensity is not problematic in this case, but an increase in frequency should be taken into account (13). It would be appropriate to limit mining in such situations because the health and well-being of citizens are at risk. Hazard maps should be analyzed during the process of building, and it is important to focus on safety and stability.

A landslide that occurred in 2006 is worth mentioning because it has affected one of the highways that were recently opened. The damage was so significant that it had to be closed for nearly six months (Dhanhani, Duncan, and Chester 72). The way such disasters affect the economy should be noted. A lot of resources are invested in repairs, and vehicles have to use other pathways that are less efficient.


The impact of the drought is frequently overlooked, and many individuals do not consider it to be a significant threat. However, complications that can be introduced may be severe, and it would be hard to reverse some of the damage. It can be described as a period associated with small levels of precipitation in a particular region caused by various factors. It is necessary to understand that the way it affects the ecosystem is enormous most of the time, and it would be reasonable to take appropriate measures to prevent some of the consequences.

The fact that the country is located in four climate zones should be highlighted because the rain distribution varies. However, one of the studies has shown that drought patterns have been quite similar in all regions. The analysis of such data allows using water resources more efficiently, and it would help to avoid risks in case of disaster (Sherif et al. 1318).

Tropical Cyclones

The population of the UAE had to deal with several storms over the last few years. Such disasters can be characterized as organized systems of powerful thunderstorms that have a particular circulation. Names are given to the ones that reach high levels of intensity. A severe storm was noted on the surface of the Indian Ocean in 2007. It is a cyclone that should be discussed because it is widely-known and has been mentioned in the media quite often.

It is believed to be the most impactful storm in the Arabian Sea. It is necessary to mention that its impact on the UAE has been relatively small compared to the damage it has caused in Oman, but the extent is still significant. The region did not have to deal with similar issues before, and it was hard to predict. The history has shown that the storms that are formed in the Arabian Sea are not that forceful, and they do not spread to the peninsula. Close to twenty thousand people lost their homes.

Other buildings were also severely damaged and required repair. Necessary measures to reduce its impact were not taken. Power failures were especially problematic because it was hard to establish communication, and thousands of people required evacuation. The amounts of lost funds also have to be considered, and the impact on IT communications was irreversible. Both residents and tourists were shocked by the situation, and the floods have caused panic.

Vehicles had to be abandoned, and it has complicated the evacuation. It was possible to identify that professionals were not aware of their tasks and responsibilities, and they did not understand how the problem may be resolved efficiently (Dhanhani, Duncan, and Chester 73). Therefore, policymakers have acknowledged the need to develop particular techniques that would help to address such issues. It was a rather small storm when it formed, but it has reached rapid speeds rather quickly. An unusual rainfall and waves have led to tremendous damages. Kalba and Fujairah were affected the most, and it has caused fatalities until they moved to Iran.

The fisheries industry was also affected, and it was hard to recover for most businesses because of the red tide. Its duration was rather long, and the damage was long-lasting. It is possible to state that the necessary resources were not available, and it was nearly impossible to provide help and support to individuals that had to suffer. One of the studies has shown that the situation was quite unusual, and similar cyclones should not be expected anytime soon. Also, it is not reasonable to blame the climate changes in this case because they are not significant. However, changes to the ecology should be taken into account (Ahmed et al. 190).

Hydrological floods

Such disasters may be quite problematic because they are not that frequent and can be hard to predict. The issue is that that heavy rainfalls are quite common, and a discharge leads to flooding. A situation that occurred in Al Qurayyah in 1995 is worthy of a discussion. The town is located close to the sea coast, and the population is relatively small. Three days of heavy rain were quite problematic, and dams were not capable of holding the pressure because they were old.

Furthermore, the damage caused by the flood was tremendous and close to ninety percent of the area was affected. Roads, houses, and property were affected, and the government had to invest in the reconstruction. Moreover, it was necessary to evacuate the population of villages because of all the mud (Dhanhani, Duncan, and Chester 71). Valuable assets were lost, and it had a lasting impact on the lives of the families.

The floods that the country had to deal with in March 2016 were severe. Many areas were underwater, and such a situation was quite dangerous for many citizens because they were not prepared. The sea level may rise in the future, and it could cause numerous problems. Therefore, it is suggested that such changes would be gradual, and associated complications would not be statistically significant.

It can be quite problematic for the infrastructure, but scholars believe that human lives would not be at risk most of the time, and other issues should be prioritized (Gibson et al. 205). Severe rains in such regions as Dubai and Abu Dhabi also should be highlighted. It is quite evident that professionals were not prepared for this disaster. Citizens were not aware of what course of actions should be taken, and had to be warned of activities that should be avoided.

Schools had to be closed in the region, and the flooding was enormous. Moreover, many flights had to be delayed. The situation is incredibly problematic for the UAE because the economy of the country is dependent on tourists at the moment. Understandably, such events are rather rare, but it may become a critical issue if their frequency increases. Changes in the climate are dangerous for the region because it was previously viewed as one of the safest, but some of these disasters are quite harsh.


In conclusion, it is possible to state that several risks are currently present in the region, and possible consequences should not be overlooked. It is necessary to understand that the governments have devoted enormous attention to this problem, and have recognized the importance of forecasting. The central problem is that it may be impossible to predict some of the disasters. Therefore, it would be beneficial to devote much more attention to the training of personnel that would be capable of rescuing and helping people affected. It is necessary to consider the experience of other countries in this area to develop approaches that are efficient and justified from the economic perspective.

It is hard to argue with the fact that such events have an impact on the lives of many individuals. However, possible risks do not stop the families, and they are moving to the areas that may be viewed as not safe. The impact of landslides has not been significant so far, but they should be regarded as a critical threat because their magnitude is worrying in some situations. Risks related to a tsunami are also present, and should not be considered, but it is believed that it can only occur in the case of a high magnitude earthquake. It is hard to make such predictions, and it would be beneficial to consider all the possibilities.

Overall, some of the complications that citizens of the UAE had to deal with could have been prevented. It is possible to limit the damage if the population is educated on this topic, and a lot of attention is devoted to the development of particular guidelines and preventive measures.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Saif A., Mohammad bin Jarsh, Saoud Al-Abdooli, Mohamed K. Al-Raidhi, and Abdulla Galadari. “Forecasting Tropical Storms in the Eastern Region of the United Arab Emirates: Lessons Learnt from Gonu.” Causes, Impacts and Solutions to Global Warming. Ed. Ibrahim Dincer, Can O. Colpan, and Fethi Kadioglu. Berlin, DE: Springer Science & Business Media, 2013. 183-194. Print.

Al Hmoudi, Abdullah, and Zeeshan Aziz. “Developing a Framework to Enhance Early Warning Response Capabilities of Disaster Resilience in the UAE.” Disaster Management and Human Health Risk IV: Reducing Risk, Improving Outcomes. Ed. Nazif Sener, Carlos Brebbia, and O. Ozcevik. Ashurst, UK: WIT Press, 2015. 127-134. Print.

Dhanhani, Hamdan A., Angus Duncan, and David Chester. “United Arab Emirates: Disaster Management with Regard to Rapid Onset Natural Disasters.” Advanced ICTs for Disaster Management and Threat Detection: Collaborative and Distributed Frameworks: Collaborative and Distributed Frameworks. Ed. Eleana Asimakopoulou. Ashurst, UK: WIT Press, 2010. 65-79. Print.

Gibson, Jacqueline M., Angela Brammer, Christopher Davidson, Tiina Folley, Frederic Launay, and Jens Thomsen. Environmental Burden of Disease Assessment. Berlin, DE: Springer Science & Business Media, 2013. Print.

Sherif, Mohsen, Mohamed Almulla, Ampar Shetty, and Rezaul K. Chowdhury. “Analysis of Rainfall, PMP and Drought in the United Arab Emirates.” The Australian Educational Researcher 34.4 (2014): 1318-1328. Print.

Yagoub, Mohamed M. “Spatio-Temporal and Hazard Mapping of Earthquake in UAE (1984–2012): Remote Sensing and GIS Application.” Geoenvironmental Disasters 2.13 (2015): 1-14. Print.

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