x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Khalifa increases support for north

Resources diverted for water, new hospital and homes

RAS AL KHAIMAH // With the nation focused on support for the Northern Emirates,Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE, yesterday ordered additional water supplies to be made available to the Al Madam district of Sharjah.

A total of 2.5 million gallons of water per day will be supplied from the main Fujairah-Al Ain water pipeline, which will benefit around 10,000 people in Al Madam's 42 local districts.

The Federal Electricity and Water Authority will construct water distribution networks in all districts of Al Madam, at a cost of Dh180m, and will be ready in two years.

Meanwhile, a federal committee has approved a Dh64 million budget to complete the Sheikh Khalifa Specialist Hospital in RAK. And additional funds will also be made available to build new accommodation.

The 250-bed medical facility, estimated to cost Dh947m, boasts emergency, cancer and cardiology units, which are expected to be completed by the end of next year. Another 110 villas for Emiratis will be built around the area as well, according to the WAM news agency.

The committee was assigned by Sheikh Khalifa, President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, after the government earmarked Dh16 billion for infrastructure in the region.

The new hospital will reduce the number of patient transfers to other emirates, said Dr Yasser al Nuaimi, the director of the RAK medical district.

"Most of our transfers from here to Abu Dhabi or Dubai are for oncology, open heart [surgery] and multiple trauma and neurosurgery," he said. "A better solution is to make this service available locally. That's why a location was decided for the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital, so it will serve not only RAK but Fujairah, Umm al Qaiwain, Ajman and even Sharjah."

An additional Dh54m has been allocated for medical equipment for Ministry of Health hospitals and medical centres.

The largesse extends to housing as the new villas will raise the number approved in three months to 667. Of the 110 newer villas, 30 will be built in RAK, 35 in Fujairah, 15 in Sharjah and 30 in Ajman. Federal housing support has skyrocketed since 2008, with most recipients based in Abu Dhabi and RAK. Nearly 3,000 grants and loans were approved by the Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme (SZHP) in 2009, the most recent statistic available.

"RAK has a good number of families and the demand for housing is increasing as the family size is large," said Mohammed al Asam, general manager of RAK municipality.

azacharias@thenational.ae