Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 2 December 2020

Solidarity with survivors of Sharjah fire

Fire at the Abbco Tower near Nahda Park in Sharjah. Antonie Robertson/The National
Fire at the Abbco Tower near Nahda Park in Sharjah. Antonie Robertson/The National

Since the fire that occurred on Tuesday evening, video footage of Abbco Tower, a Sharjah high-rise, engulfed in flames has been widely shared on the internet, leaving viewers shocked and worried. Seven people are known to have suffered minor injuries, and were treated on site. Thus far, the incident is not known to have resulted in any deaths, but many horrified tenants have seen their whole lives go up in flames. “We lost everything in our apartment. Everything,” an Egyptian resident told The National. This is the second such fire that she and her family have survived in four years living in the Abbco Tower.

The cause of the fire is yet to be identified. A thorough investigation is needed and anyone responsible should face justice. But in the meantime, the victims of this tragic incident require support and compassion.

The global population is undergoing a uniquely stressful period as it tries to cope with life under the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Some people live in constant fear for their own health or that of their loved ones, and some have lost relatives to the disease. Many are suffering from the ensuing economic downturn. And for Muslims worldwide, this is a challenging time as the holy month is usually an opportunity for family and friends to reconnect. In addition to these concerns, tenants of the torched 48-floor Sharjah building now also have to worry about shelter and their mental wellbeing.

Surviving a life-threatening incident can leave psychological scars. Filipino resident Christian Faustino had to run out of his apartment as glass windows started to shatter from the heat of the blaze. He fled with his wife, four-year-old son and seven-month-old baby, with nothing but a small case of essential items. Residents, especially young children, should have access to psychological care services to alleviate any lasting trauma.

Sharjah municipality staff have arranged for the tenants to find temporary housing so that families are not left to fend for themselves after this tragedy. Emirates Red Crescent workers also tended to the injured while Civil Defence battled the flames. Their invaluable work has saved lives and provided comfort and shelter for these victims.

Surviving a life-threatening incident can leave psychological scars

This ought to inspire others in the community to lend a helping hand to those affected by the fire as well as others who might be going through a difficult time amid the pandemic.

UAE residents and citizens have shown great compassion towards vulnerable communities. The story of Mona Mohammed, an Abu Dhabi mother of four who has devoted more than half of her monthly alimony to helping the poor and those who have lost their jobs due the coronavirus pandemic, has touched the hearts of National readers. Through her charitable work, she has truly made this world a better place. Compassion and solidarity are also needed for those who have lost their homes in Sharjah this week.

Updated: May 6, 2020 05:13 PM

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