Dubai building fire: Tenants take shelter in mosques, vehicle; thank community members for food

Some residents were allowed to enter the building to gather important documents, everyday essentials and belongings


SM Ayaz Zakir

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram


Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Published: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 1:04 PM

Last updated: Mon 17 Apr 2023, 10:45 PM

Mosques and shops in the vicinity of the fire-hit building in Deira and personal vehicles have become homes for many tenants of the residential complex. The police have cordoned off the building after the blaze killed 16 occupants and injured nine others. Preliminary investigations showed that a lack of compliance with building security and safety requirements caused the tragedy.

Some residents were allowed to enter the building to gather their belongings. “I gained entry to my flat accompanied by a policeman after showing my identity card. I got my passports and important documents along with my clothes and necessary items that are required for daily use,” said Hamid, an Iranian expat, who runs a grocery store in the area.

A Sudanese tenant took shelter in a mosque that remains open through the night as it's Ramadan. "We are eight of us, and as it is Ramadan, we are awake most of the night. We pray to the Almighty to make it easy for us and everyone else [who suffered a loss in the fire]. We are thankful that the mosque is open for us to take shelter," said the tenant.

People, including residents, stand outside a residential building. Photo: Reuters
People, including residents, stand outside a residential building. Photo: Reuters

Help from community members

These residents are not worried about the food as nearby restaurants provide it at much cheaper rates. “We are thankful to the restaurants around for providing us food for Suhoor at minimal price and are giving away tea for free. However, we fast and are not much bothered about the food,” said Oblige, a Ugandan national working at a nearby business establishment.

Many individuals provide hot Iftar meals, and the Dubai Police station their food truck at the junction.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Taking naps in turns

For eight Bangladeshi nationals, their manager has booked a hotel room for basic necessities. “We take turns and rest for a few hours at the hotel. Four of us are out on the lawn while the other four take a nap or use the washroom for basic needs,” said Jasim, a tenant on the second floor.

Expecting help from workplace

For Pakistani drivers Ikram and Mujeeb, their van has become home for the next few days. “We deliver foodstuff in our van. We are on the road all day and spend most of the time in this van. However, we never imagined turning this vehicle into a temporary home. But all praise to Almighty, we at least have a shelter over our head,” said the drivers adding that they will soon be provided with a company accommodation.

Having a tough time without a roof, these tenants are now hunting for accommodation options in the neighbourhood. Most of them prefer to stay in the vicinity as they also work in the same area.


More news from UAE