Camping season is officially here, and UAE authorities are making it their top priority to ensure it's a safe one.
To make the winter season enjoyable for visitors camping in the desert and other areas, Sharjah Police have deployed drones and patrols to control misbehaviour and other illegal activities that threaten the public's safety.
The awareness campaign is aimed at preventing any irresponsible conduct that could lead to accidents.
The police are also doing their part to curb the spread of Covid-19 by ensuring that desert campers observe social distancing guidelines and wear face masks.
Major-General Saif Al Shamsi, commander-in-chief of the Sharjah Police, said the force has teamed up with municipalities to monitor the desert areas, especially in Badair, Al Saifah, Al Batih, Al Dhaid and Mleihah.
In coordination with the municipal committees, the police have put all precautions and preventive measures in place. This includes deploying patrols and installing cameras on streets leading to camping areas.
"The patrols were deployed since the beginning of October," Al Shamsi said. "They have already started instructing motorists to refrain from creating a commotion, not to drive in unauthorised areas, avoid using cars that are not designed for desert driving and not to get engaged in illegal racing."
Colonel Ahmed Jassim Al Zaabi, director of the Central Region Police Department, said the Sharjah Police intensified awareness campaigns, which were implemented under the theme 'Safe Winter'.
The police inspected squad bike rental shops to ensure they comply with the safety requirements.
"The patrols in the desert areas work according to an integrated system 24 hours a day to ensure public safety and provide the necessary support for campers and tourists," Al Zaabi said.
He further urged the public not to gather or camp near public roads, as it can be dangerous for them and motorists.
Salim Al Kutbi, director of Al Madam Municipality, said the municipal inspections have been deployed since the start of the winter season in camping areas to prevent reoccurence of accidents and violations from the previous years.
In Dibba, Fujairah, Eng. Hassan Salem Al Yamahi, director-general of Dibba Al Fujairah Municipality, said the municipality has been issuing permits since November to establish temporary winter camps in the Al Faqit area.
The permits are only issued after verifying all safety requirements that would preserve public health and environmental safety. It also emphasis the emirate's commitment to implement all preventive and precautionary Covid-19 measures.
Permits also provide commercial licence holders a location to sell foodstuffs, with the aim of supporting small businesses. These food outlets are continuously monitored by municipal inspectors to ensure they adhere to general hygiene standards.
Moreover, to ensure visitors' safety, Al Yamahi said the municipality distributed brochures with emergency contact numbers and numbered the camping tents.
Those who camp in unauthorised areas in both Sharjah and Fujairah will be fined Dh2,000.
The fines have been linked with the Ministry of Interior's system, to be paid when renewing vehicle registrations.
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