x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Partly UAE-funded cyclone shelter inaugurated in Australia

Half of the cost was donated by the Abu Dhabi Government last year.

A partly UAE-funded cyclone shelter was inaugurated on Thursday in Australia.

The mixed-purpose facility, located in Yeppoon, in the country's state of Queensland, is the first of five to be completed - which cost a total of US60 million to build. Half of the cost was donated by the Abu Dhabi Government last year.

The UAE Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs, Khaled Al Ghaith, visited Australia for the inauguration of the category five cyclone shelter, which can be used for various purposes all year round.

According to the state news agency, WAM, Australian officials hailed the donation as a "great gift of friendship from the people of Abu Dhabi to the people of Queensland".

The shelters, which were designed and constructed to category five standards, will each provide protection to more than 500 people from winds of up to 300 kilometres an hour.

"The United Arab Emirates and Australia are important bilateral partners, and the opening of the Yeppoon Cyclone Shelter is a further example of the strength and depth of that relationship," Mr Al Ghaith said.

"These cyclone shelters will not only provide viable disaster relief infrastructure, but will also provide command, control and care to the remotest and most-at-risk communities in potential times of crisis."

He said the shelters will "help safeguard people's lives for years to come in the event of a cyclone". They will also be used as a multi-sports facility in non-cyclone season, to be used by the local community.

newsdesk@thenational.ae