School, supermarket, game rooms: Inside UAE city sheltering Palestinians evacuated from Gaza

The humanitarian complex had previously hosted Afghan refugees in 2022

by

Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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KT Photos: Shihab
KT Photos: Shihab

Published: Mon 15 Apr 2024, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Mon 15 Apr 2024, 11:17 PM

The Emirates Humanitarian City is a housing complex in Musaffah, Abu Dhabi. Funded by the UAE government, it was set up to provide support and medical assistance to evacuees from crisis and conflict zones worldwide.

The humanitarian complex had previously hosted Afghan refugees in 2022. Now, it is hosting thousands of Gazan evacuees as part of the Gallant Knight 3 initiative, which UAE President Sheikh Mohammed initiated.


For many of the wounded Gazans and their companions, it was unthinkable to leave the border, let alone come to the UAE for treatment. Sahar Jamal, a mother accompanying her wounded daughter, said, “I was at Shifa hospital when people from the Emirati delegation came to us and asked if we would be willing to continue our treatment in the UAE; it was almost like a dream!"

Sahar Jamal
Sahar Jamal

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Another mother, Jamalat Hafez, who was accompanying her wounded son, said, “Getting the news of coming to the UAE was already a shock; now that I am here, I am more grateful than ever.”

Jamalat Hafez
Jamalat Hafez

The humanitarian complex is like a small city that provides the people of Gaza and other evacuees with all the essential amenities needed for a fulfilling and quality life. It includes hospitals, schools, nurseries, entertainment centres, game zones, field trips and events, family visitation rooms, and other services.

With many entities present in the city, Liwa Education and the Ministry of Education are responsible for the education of the Gazan children. Although the duration of their stay is still unknown, officials from the humanitarian city said that the education of the Palestinians will continue with the highest standards and certifications.

In terms of medical services, Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health, in partnership with Tamouh Healthcare’s Somerian Health, is responsible for the health and medical assistance of all the wounded. The hospital includes dentistry, psychiatry, paediatrics units and general practitioners. “The cases we receive mostly deal with major trauma and cancer; in general, we diagnose the patients, and if we cannot offer treatment here, we transfer them to specialised hospitals across the emirate," said Salih, a doctor at the city.

Dr Salih
Dr Salih

With a grocery present in the complex and food delivered to the doorstep of every patient and their companion, the complex also offers a kitchen that caters to the special needs of the wounded. “We thank the UAE for its treatment and extreme generosity; when we call our family back home, and they ask us how it is, we tell them that living in the humanitarian city is as if we are living in heaven,” said Feda Mahmood

As the death toll of the Israeli-Hamas war rises daily, evacuees are under a daily deal of mental stress. Abdulrahman Alkurdi expressed that while he is grateful for the kindness shown to him, he and others are mentally preoccupied with the thoughts of their families in Gaza, stating that this constant worry is draining their energy.

Abdulrahman Alkurdi
Abdulrahman Alkurdi

Officials from The Humanitarian City told Khaleej Times that they are continuously trying their best to uplift the evacuees' moods by organising daily events, family visitations, field trips, and daily psychiatric treatment.

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