DUBAI // The Jebel Ali Village community has pulled together to help those whose houses were badly damaged by storms last week.
One resident, whose villa was up to knee level in water, said that his neighbours had been a great help. His children had to escape their home through a window because he could not get the door open.
“I have had 40 or 50 people at my house every day, pumping water, shovelling raw sewage and cleaning,” said the resident, who did not wish to be identified.
“On Friday, members of the nanny association of the village came to my house on their one day off, for eight hours, on their hands and knees, scrubbing and cleaning.”
He said the community’s support had been overwhelming.
“One of the gentlemen works at a hotel, and he brought people in to instal AC and hook up electricity,” he said. “Others, such as Curry Box, sent food.”
The resident also said that moving company Mr Move donated boxes and offered to store his family’s belongings for free.
“We are very lucky because we have lived here for 18 years and have lots of friends,” he said.
“I’m not really sure what the next move is here but we cancelled our contract with Nakheel, which will only be restoring damage to the property.”
Nakheel, the developer of Jebel Ali Village, will not compensate people for their personal belongings but has offered contract cancellations, residents said.
“If it was just water it wouldn’t have been a problem and we could clean that up, but it was raw sewage in the house,” said the resident.
Another resident said there had been about 60 centimetres of water in her villa.
“I had to throw away half of my furniture, including my bedroom and the children’s room,” she said, adding that Nakheel had offered to fix her back boundary wall that collapsed.
But she said that she had no intention of moving home after spending Dh100,000 on fixing the house and the landscaping.
“We have spent so much on this place, and my house may be the most damaged from inside, but we’re not leaving,” she said. “The neighbours, some I don’t even know, were helping us by taking our clothes and washing them.”
She said she brought in workers to clean the house and salvage as much as possible.
A Nakheel spokeswoman said: “We are in the process of assessing structural damage to individual properties and will then repair accordingly.”
Those wishing to donate money or companies wanting to offer vouchers for those affected by the storm can email residents on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the storm meant the end for the giant “golf ball” on the roof of Etisalat’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, after it was badly damaged in Wednesday’s storm.
Work has been started to remove the sphere after instructions from the authorities.
“We are working to dismantle the structure for safety reasons, following the damage during last week’s storm,” said an Etisalat spokeswoman.
“Spherical structures on other Etisalat buildings across the UAE will not be impacted by this decision.”
The National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority on Friday told Etisalat to dismantle the ball, the state news agency Wam reported.