Dubai to be shel­ter for UN staff evac­u­ated from 10 coun­tries


Gulf News - - Nation - BY ALI AL SHOUK Staff Re­porter

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.

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