x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Hundreds still unable to return home after Abu Dhabi courtyard collapse

Residents evacuated from the plush Al Rayyana development are still living in temporary accommodation almost three weeks after their building's courtyard collapsed into an underground car park.

The aftermath of the Al Rayyana courtyard collapse. Courtesy Al Ittihad
The aftermath of the Al Rayyana courtyard collapse. Courtesy Al Ittihad

ABU DHABI // Hundreds of people stuck in hotel accommodation for almost three weeks after their building’s courtyard collapsed are to move into new homes from next week.

The 1,400 square-metre area collapsed on September 30 at Al Rayyana, a Sorouh development in Khalifa City A.

Tenants, most of who are teachers working for the Abu Dhabi Educational Council (Adec), were evacuated. No one was injured.

Residents had only 20 minutes to collect their belongings before having to leave, not knowing how long they would be away.

They have been living at the Yas Viceroy Hotel since, with their accommodation and food costs covered, and they said they still did not know where they would be living next.

Sorouh last night said that 15 tenants a day will be moving into equivalent or better accommodation run by itself and third-party developments.  The company said it had taken less than three weeks to find 200 new units.

“This will take roughly two to three weeks,” a spokesman said. “As part of this process, the authorities have granted permission for the tenants to collect their belongings from their old apartments.

“Since the incident, we have agreed to pay for hotel accommodation for the tenants, undertaken to cover any costs associated with moving to their new accommodation and offered to pay for any perishable goods.”

Adec had said that it would not send its staff back to Al Rayyana, and that it was exploring several rehoming options. “Some people have been informed they’ll be moved this weekend while others, like me, are unaware of what’s going on and haven’t been told anything,” said one teacher this week. “It’s not a good vibe at all.”

A total of 194 Adec staff were in 189 flats at the development for a month before the incident.

Police tape was still around the site on Tuesday and two patrol cars were present.  

eharnan@thenational.ae