DUBAI // Demolition work has begun on 518 abandoned buildings identified by the municipality and police as a threat to public health and safety.
To date, 145 structures have been torn down by the Building Inspection section of Dubai Municipality.
The owners of the buildings were sent letters giving them a month to fix up their buildings and yards. The municipality also placed adverts in local newspapers two weeks before demolition, calling for action to be taken. If the owners had taken no action by the deadline, demolition engineers moved in.
Owners must pay for the cost of the demolition as well as 20 per cent of the administrative expense of the exercise.
Jaber Ahmed Abdullah Al Ali, the Acting Head of Building Inspection Section, said abandoned and dilapidated buildings were used to harbour illegal immigrants and criminal fugitives, and posed a serious health risk to the public. He added that the buildings could be used for the practice of illegal economic activities, such as storing contraband or unauthorised manufacturing.
Speaking to The National shortly after the announcement of this campaign in April, Omar Mohammed Abdulrahman, the head of inspections at the municipality's buildings department, said: "Sometimes, crimes are happening in these buildings because doors are left open. They become unsafe and unclean."
Owners whose buildings are demolished may rebuild on the land, provided strict guidelines are followed.
Members of the public may report abandoned buildings to the municipality by calling 800900.