Blackout, Day 4: Al Nahda tower's 170 families still homeless

Fire guts electric room; Real estate firm awaits insurance claim to begin repair work

Today is the fourth day when 170 families of the residential tower without electricity in Al Nahda continue to live with relatives, friends and in hotel apartments. The building owner is yet to provide alternate arrangements, while the real estate firm is awaiting insurance claim to begin repair work.

About 80 angry residents, who seek alternate accommodation or at least a generator, had called for a meeting on Monday, which was attended by representatives of the Indian Consulate, Dubai and Indian Association Sharjah. But the building owner stayed away. A few real estate managers, who represented the building owner, had no solutions to solve the issue, said residents.

About 800 people, including children, women and old people are homeless since Saturday morning when the electrical room of the 17- floor tower went up in flames.

“We are yet to get a proper response from the building owner. We were expecting a solution from the managers on Monday evening, but the meeting did not yield any result. The representatives of Indian Consulate and Indian Association Sharjah attended the meeting and they have promised to do something," said Rakesh, a resident of the building, popularly known as Corniche Al Madeena Supermarket building.

“The real estate managers said they are waiting for approval from the insurance company to start repair work. It is pathetic that they did not arrange for a generator even. Now it is clear that it will take between 15 and 30 days to complete maintenance once they begin," said another resident.

“Now nobody is living in this building. It is intact, but how can anyone live here without air-conditioning or water supply. It is too hot and humid," added another resident. Another meeting is scheduled on Tuesday evening and residents are pinning their hope to hear some good news.

Residents said they cannot afford to live in hotel apartments for a month, or trouble their friends and relatives for long.

In the past when three other high-rises in Sharjah Al Nahda area had gone up in flames, Sharjah Charities and Sharjah Government had helped the affected families.

Earlier story: 7-floor Nahda tower without power, water

Several hundred residents of a residential tower in the Al Nahda area of Sharjah have been without electricity from Saturday morning, after a short-circuit resulted in a fire in the electric room of the 17-floor building.

The fire itself was controlled quickly, but power was shut down and is yet to be restored, after the wiring and other control mechanisms in the electrical room were damaged.

Residents have been stranded without electricity and water for two days now and have sought refuge with their friends and relatives.

The building has been identified as the Al Madina Supermarket Building, being managed by Al Sawa Real Estate, Building No 262.

The building is next to the Al Ahalia exchange.

Sources at the real estate company told this website that it may take at least a month to repair the damage to the electric room.

The 170 flats in the high-rise are occupied by expatriate residents from India, the Philippines, Pakistan and Arab countries.

Rakesh, one of the affected residents said some residents could not find alternative accommodation and are climbing up the stairs carrying big water cans with the help of torch light.

"We are paying maintenance charges to the building owners and they should do the needful immediately. We cannot live in a high-rise without electricity or water in the summer months," added another agitated resident.

Another resident said, “The families are agitated about lack of alternative arrangements like a generator to operate at least the water supply and lifts.”

“For two days I have been living with my wife and kid at a friend’s house, but I cannot stay there for one month.

“The real estate company is not giving a proper time frame as to when electricity and water supply will be restored.

“They promised to install an electricity generator to operate at least the lift and restore water supply. That did not happen.

“The tenants are meeting the building owner on Monday evening, but don’t expect any surprises,” said another resident.

According to sources, the real estate company managing the building is looking at alternative arrangements through a lawyer and Sharjah Police.

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