Dubai to be shelter for UN staff evacuated from 10 countries
EMIRATE CHOSEN AS SAFE ZONE AFTER SUCCESSFUL MOCK DRILL CONDUCTED BY DUBAI POLICE
United Nations employees who are evacuated in times of crisis or natural disasters in 10 countries across the Middle East and East Asia will be brought to Dubai, an official said yesterday after a mock drill by Dubai Police to gauge preparedness.
Major General Kamel Butti Al Suwaidi, director of the Operations Department at Dubai Police, said the UN chose Dubai to become a shelter for 3,700 UN employees due to the security and high standards of the evacuation process in the city.
“In case of emergencies, danger or disaster in those countries, Dubai will be the first destination of evacuation for UN employees,” Maj Gen Al Suwaidi said at a press conference at Dubai Officers Club.
Alexander Peridis, UN security adviser, said the 10 countries that agreed to Dubai being chosen as an evacuation point for UN employees are Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran, Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.
“Dubai provided all the facilities and smooth procedures to evacuate UN employees and their families in emergencies or disasters in those countries. Dubai will be a shelter for the UN employees in such situations,” Peridis said.
He added that in 2010, the ■ UN evacuated employees to Dubai after a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan.
“The UAE continues to contribute to UN efforts in the field of security and safety. We need to be ready for any emergency or disaster and Dubai set an example of professionalism in dealing with such situations,” Perdis added.
Dubai Police organised an evacuation drill for 300 UN employees at Dubai International Airport Terminal 2 on October 15 in a bid to test evacuation procedures. “After its success, we decided to conduct the drill twice a year to develop skills and cut response times even more,” Maj Gen Al Suwaidi said.
Colonel Ahmad Burqibah, acting director of Crisis and Disaster Management, said the drill was conducted in collaboration with the UN Department for Safety and Security.
How the drill was conducted
“The scenario began with a hypothetical attack on a UN premises in a country in the Middle East. We received a request at 9am from the UN to evacuate 300 people, including three who were seriously injured, and 12 others with minor to moderate injuries. Within an hour we were prepared and ready to facilitate the evacuation,” Col Burqibah said.
He pointed out that once the report was received by Dubai Police’s operation room at the airport, teams started to provide logistics support in coordination with Dubai Airports.
“Rescue and medical teams, including a helicopter from the air-wing, were dispatched to the site along with a trained psychologist. Two special corridors were provided to facilitate the entry of evacuated staff and help UN employees who lost their identity papers.”
As part of the mock drill, 100 people were transferred to the transit area immediately while 183 completed entry procedures and were transported to hotels in Dubai. The injured were rushed to hospital.
The office of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan in Kabul. The 10 nations that chose Dubai are Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran, Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.