Homeless people who sleep in public parks, bus and taxi stations, pavements, pedestrian underpasses and tunnels are seen in different parts of Dubai and a casual talk to many of them reveals that their current condition is due to escalating rent, unemployment, large number of visit ...

By V M Sathish (Contributor)

Published: Sun 14 Aug 2005, 12:42 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:02 PM

visa traders and the social stigma which prevents them from seeking help from friends and relatives.

City Times spoke to many such homeless and found out the real reason behind their lives on the street. Homelessness is part of urban life and in Dubai too is no exception. “I had a sharing room in Deira and when I lost my job following a dispute with my sponsor, I could not afford to pay rent. My friends are still living there, but I found this an ideal place to spend the night. It is hot but in the night the wind flowing from the Dubai creek gives a cooling effect,” says 43 year-old Ummar, an unemployed cafeteria worker.

“I have been living in Dubai for about ten years and I have many friends and relatives. However, I don't seek their help, because my family will come to know about my problems,” he added. After seeing movies shown on a public television, he like other homeless inhabitants sleeps in the open space. There are many such marginalised expatriates from all nationalities taking shelter in such public places. “If any of my relatives or friends see me living like this, they will spread the news. So I come quietly in the night and leave early morning,” he added.

Among the people sleeping in the park and public places are drug addicts and people suffering from diseases too. Some of the homeless residents of the city get up early morning when the watchman wakes them up and when their roommates go out for work in the morning, they spend sometime in their room, take a bath and rush to work. At night the same cycle is repeated. “I don't want to seek anyone's help because I am in a difficult situation. I can stay at the park,” said a regular resident of Satwa Park, which is mostly inhabited by illegal workers, who are often brought to the city by scrupulous visa traders and agents.

Among the homeless are aged people like the old man who has been living at the Gold Souq Bus stand for several years. Many people sleep in the Nasir Square, the pedestrian underpasses and bus stations. Often, they have a plastic bag, in which they carry their dress and other luggage.

These unfortunate people fall prey to the ill-intentions of visa traders. Agents bring them to the city, promising lucrative jobs, and take money for the jobs. When they land here, the situation is entirely different and many of them end up as illegal migrants and homeless people.

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