Video: Nearly 1,000 workers in limbo after fire guts UAE accommodation
The displaced workers have been moved to alternative labour accommodations in Al Sajja, Sharjah. -Photo by Juidin Bernarrd
Ajman - No casualties were reported as most workers were on duty when the accident happened.
A massive fire ripped through a workers' accommodation in the Sharjah-Ajman border, 30 kilometres away from the Sharjah city centre on Wednesday (August 14).
The fire took place at noon at the Darwish Engineering Emirates workers' accommodation, located a few kilometres away from the Sharjah Investment Centre. No casualties were reported as most workers were on duty when the accident happened. But, nearly 1,000 workers who were residing at the accommodation quarters have been displaced in the fire.
During a site inspection by Khaleej Times on Monday, it was revealed that the Sharjah Police is presently investigating the exact cause of the fire. Nothing except long rows of charred porta cabins were present on-site.
The displaced workers have been moved to alternative labour accommodations in Al Sajja, Sharjah. Many workers said they have lost all their personal belongings and the company has only paid Dh200 to each worker as compensation for the losses.
"The fire broke out in the afternoon. We were all living in small porta cabins that housed five to ten workers in each cabin," said an Indian worker on the condition of anonymity. "Fortunately, very few of us were at the accommodation when the fire happened. We lost everything in the fire."
Another worker from Pakistan said: "I was preparing to leave for holidays on August 20 and had purchased a lot of stuff for my family. I lost all of that. Many of us lost money, our clothes, utensils, beds, and whatever we have."
Some of the workers said they spent the Dh200 compensation on necessary items like clothes, utensils for emergency cooking etc. However, most are still adjusting with the help of other workers.
"I was at the accommodation when I saw the fire. I ran to my room and tried to salvage whatever I could. But most of the stuff were already destroyed," a Bangladeshi worker added.
The accommodation facility built of porta cabins had several blocks and each cabin housed five to ten workers. Khaleej Times tried to reach out to Darwish Engineering Emirates for comments, however, were not available.
Reaching out in times of need
The workers who lost all their belongings in the fire at their accommodation were identified in dire need of help by Care2Share UAE, a CSR initiative of Medulla Productions and Consulting LLC, Sharjah.
Roshni Raimawala, project manager and co-founder of Care2Share UAE, said: "The volunteers are bringing essential items such as rice, dal, oil, sugar, tea, salt, spices, vegetables and fruits, snacks and toiletries to be distributed to the workers."
Ursula Manvatkar, managing director of Medulla and co-founder of Care2Share UAE, added: "We are grateful to be able to coordinate the worker left in limbo. The volunteers have agreed to come forward with several hundred packages of essential items to be distributed to the workers on Friday, which is a very generous turnout.
"The items will also include shirts, trousers, bath towels, face towels, bedsheets, hand towels, socks, blankets, pillow covers, crockery, utensils, cutlery and many more," she added.