Many residents have rushed to supermarkets in Qatar this morning to stock up on food items after waking up to news of Saudi Arabia closing the country’s only land border.
Customers could be seen piling their carts high with supplies of milk, water, rice and eggs at several popular grocery stores today, which were even busier than is usual for Ramadan.
“I’ve never seen anything like it – people have trolleys full of food and water,” one long-time resident who asked not to be named told Doha News while at Carrefour in Villaggio mall.
Photographs of empty chiller shelves have already been circulating on social media sites, as residents reportedly cleared out stores of chicken and other fresh and frozen meat in some shops.
Branches of Carrefour seemed to have been particularly popular with shoppers.
However, many other stores continued to have plentiful stocks.
Qatar’s state Cabinet said today ““Marine and air spaces will remain open for import and movement,” The Peninsula reported.
And Qatar’s foreign affairs ministry insisted in a statement that the border closing would not impact normal life in the country for citizens and residents.
It added that the Qatari government will “take all the necessary measures to make certain of that and to thwart attempts to negatively affect Qatari society and economy.”
The grocery rush follows an escalating rift between Qatar and its neighboring Gulf states.
Earlier this morning, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain announced that they would close all land, air and sea borders with Qatar within 24 hours.
As a peninsula that neighbors Saudi Arabia, Qatar relies heavily on its only land border to access food, as well as raw materials for its numerous mega infrastructure projects.
The decision to cut off ties to Qatar comes weeks after QNA was hacked. At the time, insulting remarks attributed to the Emir about the country’s Gulf neighbors were published.
Officials debunked these as false, but many GCC countries doubt this to be true.