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Miscreants Fuelled Rumours as Heavy Rains Wrecked Havoc in UAE: Punishment is Imminent

Authorities refute baseless claims linking recent heavy rainfall to cloud seeding and debunk false reports of electrocution deaths

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Pavitra Shetty

Published on April 18, 2024, 16:27:59


heavy rains in uae, dubai floods, cloud seeding in uae, spreading rumpours, penalty for spreading rumours

The UAE experienced severe disruptions due to heavy rains that persisted from late Monday, causing widespread challenges in daily life.

However, authorities and residents joined forces to ensure public safety amidst the inclement weather.

The National Centre of Meteorology confirmed that the record rainfall over the past 24 hours until 9 pm on Tuesday, 16th April, was unprecedented in the UAE's recorded climate history.

As news of the floods circulated on social media, so did rumours linking the weather directly to the UAE's cloud seeding initiatives.

The UAE is renowned for its cloud seeding efforts aimed at increasing rainfall in arid areas. Nevertheless, baseless claims emerged online, suggesting a direct link between the heavy rainfall and cloud seeding operations.

Authorities swiftly addressed these rumours, emphasising that cloud seeding is conducted with stringent scientific protocols and safety measures.

The National Centre of Meteorology clarified that while cloud seeding can influence precipitation under specific conditions, attributing the floods solely to this practice is unsupported.

Spreading Rumours is a Serious Offence

The UAE government's response underscores the gravity with which misinformation is treated. Spreading false information that undermines public trust or jeopardises public safety is a serious offence under UAE law, carrying severe penalties such as fines, imprisonment, or deportation.

Spreading rumours on social media is strictly forbidden in the UAE, carrying severe penalties like imprisonment and hefty fines under Federal Law Number 5 of 2012. Articles 29 and 9 address malicious rumour-spreading and IP address misuse.

Recent decrees, such as Federal Decree-Law No. 34/2021 and No. 31/2021, reflect the government's commitment to combat cybercrimes.

Article 43 penalises spreading false events with fines up to Dh500,000, while Article 52 targets misinformation that disrupts public peace or threatens public interest, with fines starting from Dh100,000 and detention, especially in crises.

Rely on Verified Sources

In response to the rumours, UAE officials urged the public to rely on verified sources for information and refrain from spreading unverified claims on social media.

They emphasised the importance of responsible online behaviour, especially during emergencies, to prevent panic and misinformation from causing further harm.

To combat the proliferation of rumours, UAE authorities have intensified monitoring of social media platforms and online forums.

Those found guilty of spreading false information will face swift and stringent legal action, serving as a deterrent to others tempted to engage in similar activities.

Sharjah Rumour Mongers Warned

Meanwhile, in Sharjah, those spreading rumours were cautioned about potential legal action following the circulation of false narratives on social media claiming that two individuals had died from electrocution while walking through a flooded street in the emirate.

Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, denied the story circulated on social media about the supposed deaths and urged residents to stop spreading false information.

The report warned people to avoid walking on flooded areas and “touching metallic objects attached to the ground.”

The report stated two people died of electrocution in Sharjah as they tried to cross a flooded road. Both individuals reportedly “died” instantly.

“Power distribution lines are mostly built underground in the UAE, so please avoid walking through flooded areas,” the social media post warned.

Report Denied

Major General Al Shamsi confirmed that they did not register any death due to such incidents.
Sharjah Police warned against spreading false alarms and unverified stories on social media due to its negative impact on society.

“The Sharjah Police informs all fellow citizens and residents not to circulate rumours, misinformation, photos, and news that come to them through social networking sites and other means of smart communication,” Major General Al Shamsi said.

He also asked residents not to distribute such content in any way to avoid legal accountability. The police asked residents to check with authorities any news or information given to them, urging them to verify with Sharjah Police to ensure its credibility.

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