|By K Raveendran| Given Dubai’s fame as one of the most happening cities of the world, the international media attention to the New Year-eve fire at the Address Hotel was quite natural. At the same time, it did not escape the attention of the discerning that some sections of the media lost no opportunity to use the unfortunate incident to show things in a rather poor light.
But overall the Dubai Establishment has won admiration from all around for the manner in which such a major fire and its potential dangers were handled. The less than two dozen injuries reported amount to virtually nothing considering the gravity of the situation, with a huge crowd milling around the property in expectation of the New Year spectacle that Downtown Dubai and Burj Khalifa have by now become famous for.
The takeaway from the whole episode is that Dubai has once again demonstrated its inherent strength and positivity with the swift, professional, calm and caring response, as Emaar Chairman Mohammed Alabbar pointed out in a statement issued a day after the incident. The immediate priority was to ensure the safety of guests and the hundreds of thousands of visitors to Downtown Dubai, who were evacuated in record time in a most orderly fashion.
Within minutes of the incident, Dubai Civil Defence, Dubai Police, Dubai Ambulance Services, the RTA, Dubai Heath Authority and the all governmental authorities concerned, coordinated and responded with maximum efficiency—a true testament to how Dubai operates as one team.
Various hotels in Dubai contributed their part in relocating the guests who were staying at the Address. The authorities and staff at the General Directorate of Residency and Foreign Affairs, Dubai International Airport, Emirates Airline and other airline companies quickly extended support in ensuring the wellbeing of the guests.
“The teams across Dubai government entities are the true heroes. Their noble work gives Dubai’s people and the business community the sense of security, comfort and confidence,” Alabbar said in his statement.
“We are extremely thankful to the leadership and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for keeping our morale high, and for his prompt directives that enabled us to deal with a challenging situation with utmost professionalism,” he said.
The Emaar Chairman also thanked Dubai Police, Dubai Civil Defence and all the Dubai government entities who demonstrated their superb commitment and dedication. He specially thanked the Dubai Civil Defence officials for their exceptional bravery and hard work.
Alabbar also praised the people of Dubai for their response to the challenging situation. “We extend our heartfelt appreciation and debt of gratitude to the people of Dubai, especially the visitors to Downtown Dubai, for their patience and trust in us. Their orderly conduct demonstrated their confidence in Dubai’s officials to meeting any challenge calmly,” he said.