ABU DHABI // The Eastern Region of the emirate surrounds the oasis city of Al Ain and contains approximately 20 settlements, most of which have a population of about 10,000. However, there are also some hamlets that consist of only a few homes. The Eastern Region includes Sweihan, Nahel, Al Hayer and Remah, as well as vast swathes of desert. Unlike Al Gharbia, formerly called the Western Region, the eastern section does not possess any oil or gas reserves. It is, however, characterised by extensive agricultural developments and expansive sand dunes. This region also displays most of the biodiversity in the country, housing exotic species of plants such as the ghaf tree, and animals like spiny-tailed lizards and desert eagle owls.
Many of the villages farm dates, grain and vegetables. They sell animal feed to the Government. According to statistics released by Al Ain Municipality, which governs the Eastern Region, the area is expected to have a population of about 185,000 in 2010. Because of its limited urbanisation, the Emirati residents of the region continue to retain strong familial bonds. * The National