x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sharjah to tear down its derelict and abandoned buildings

Sharjah Municipality has ordered all dilapidated and abandoned buildings to be demolished for safety and health reasons.

Promise of things to come: demolished buildings in Al Nabba area of Sharjah.
Promise of things to come: demolished buildings in Al Nabba area of Sharjah.

SHARJAH // The municipality has ordered all dilapidated and abandoned buildings to be demolished for safety and health reasons.

Most of these buildings are decades-old abandoned homes that have fallen into disrepair and even become shelters for illegal residents, said Sultan Abdullah Al Mualla, the director general of the municipality.

"They have mostly become a burden to the residents as some people have turned them into dust and waste dumping grounds," Mr Al Mualla said. "This is increasing the spread of insects and rodents, which spread diseases in the area."

He said another concern was that the old buildings were not up to the emirate's building standards.

Demolition was being coordinated with the Sharjah Electricity Water Authority (Sewa).

The municipality would ask Sewa to cut water and power to the buildings if anyone stayed in them after being served with an eviction notice, Mr Al Mualla said.

A construction fence would then be raised around the building and the structure would be sprayed with water before demolition to prevent clouds of dust.

"We have professional contractors that specialise in building demolitions and the work is done in the best form," Mr Al Mualla said.

Several residents said they supported the campaign as the unemployed illegals that had moved into these abandoned houses threatened their safety.

"There are more crimes in Sharjah recently than ever before and most of these criminals we read about in newspapers were residing in abandoned homes," said Shaban Ahmed, a resident of Al Nabba, where several old buildings will be razed.

Others, such as Mahmud Ghafur, said demolition of the old buildings to replace them with skyscrapers was not the best way to preserve traditions and culture.

"Let them maintain these buildings and preserve them as part of our heritage and culture," Mr Ghafur said.

"I have been to major cities like London and their architecture is unique. They are content to keep it for generations."

Last year, 92 illegals were arrested after having been found sharing two abandoned homes in Al Marijah and Al Shuwaiheen.

A police spokesman said at the time that their living conditions were appalling as the municipality had cut off electricity and water, and many were found sleeping on the ground without any cover.

Police had been tipped off by residents, as illegal occupants of two homes were becoming involved in crimes, the spokesman said.

ykakande@thenational.ae