UAE | General

Tamweel Tower residents to get hotel rooms

Many express reservations about upfront payment but hope to get insurance relief

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
  • Published: 18:43 November 20, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News
  • Residents wait outside of Tamweel Tower in JLT to enter the building.

Dubai: Over a hundred Tamweel Tower residents displaced by a massive fire on Sunday told Gulf News that they would be moved to various Dubai hotels for a month, beginning Tuesday.

But many residents were disappointed to learn that they would need to shell out Dh7-10,000 upon check-in. The residents have been told a proportion of the amount can be reimbursed by insurance.

A massive fire gutted about half of the 34-storey mixed-use tower in Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) early on Sunday morning, forcing hundreds of residents out of their homes.

Investigations are under way as to the cause of the fire.

In a text message sent to residents on Tuesday morning, residents were told that hotel apartments had been booked for them for a month ‘as per the insurer’s requirement’ beginning Tuesday.

A portion of the money they will shell out will be reimbursed by the building’s insurance company later on.

Residents said that though part of the payment will be reimbursed, many of them don’t exactly know where they’d get the money required upfront at this time.

“We have lost everything due to smoke and water damage and a bit of fire damage. We’re going to make our way to the hotel but we have to pay Dh10,000 upfront. They reckon we will be reimbursed by insurance. But how many people in that block can afford Dh10,000 now if they have already lost everything,” J.B, a British expatriate, asked Gulf News.

“For my case, it is okay, I still have something and my house is fine. But how do you expect the others who lost everything to the fire to pay? This is not good,” Shariq Divker, who lived on the 10th floor, said.

S. Vasu, who lived on the 20th floor, that was also gutted, said: “Currently, we have to go for the cheapest one for 30 days. But I don’t know where I’ll get the money.”

Other residents welcomed the arrangement.

“We were told to move to [another hotel] and depending on our accommodation, my landlord will reimburse Dh9,000,” V.J, whose 8th floor flat escaped relatively unscathed, said.

Asked for comment on the new arrangement, he said: “At least they’ve done something.”

“We’re still undecided as to where we will go. It’s okay with us to pay, but it would have been better if the insurance shouldered it for now. But we will pay since we have us no choice,” Homer Ocsio, 8th floor resident who lost one bedroom to the fire, said.

When contacted by Gulf News, a spokesperson from Tamweel said that they are doing their best to help the residents in conjunction with the Board of the Owners Association which was formed in 2010 to oversee day-to-day running of the building.

“Tamweel is not the owner of the building. In reality the tower belongs to the owners of the units. Tamweel has ownership of the four commercial floors and retail space. Although provision of alternative accommodation is not legally within the purview of Tamweel, the company is supporting the building’s residents by liaising with the insurance company,” the spokesperson said.

“The Board of the Owners Association had taken an all risks insurance from Arab Orient Insurance Company and the premium payment was made from the building maintenance fee which was paid by the owners. The total value of the insurance for alternative accommodation is Dh1.485 million and this has been allocated to the unit owners in proportion of their unit area. Under the terms of the policy, this is on reimbursement basis,” he added.

Tamweel further said that although it is not their responsibility, they will continue to help residents by facilitating the processing of claims for apartment owners and tenants.

“During this difficult period, Tamweel will continue to strongly support the relief efforts being currently run by the Owners Association in coordination with DMCC.”

The fire broke out in Tamweel Tower at 2am on Sunday but it took civil defence crews until 8am to put the flames out after firefighters had completed a floor-by-floor search for residents.

No-one was injured in the blaze, which decimated the top three floors including the building’s roof.

Investigations are now under way as to the cause of the fire, the building is being secured and no residents are currently allowed back inside.

Comments (2)

  1. Added 13:22 November 21, 2012

    What happened is very unfortunate & the consequences grave for all concerned. Some have been hurt more than others, but all residents have been affected. We were all spared loss of life by the grace of God, but many people suffered material losses on top of the emotional distress & displacement without warning. This is a real emergency, but one with fairly simple solutions. In my opinion, the matter of accommodating the displaced families should not be one of REIMBURSEMENT of costs incurred out of pocket, but rather one of immediate COMPENSATION paid in advance to help the families with extraordinary expenses on top of their emotional, financial, & material losses. I believe an SMS saying do this or that & you'll be reimbursed is not a way to deal with the victims... lest anyone believe otherwise, we are victims of the circumstances & time will tell what the real cause of the fire was, at which time I hope the responsible party will “face the music”. I cannot understand why those who suffered thru the fire should continue to suffer after it has been put out & pay the price as if they’re responsible. We have enough to deal with trying to relocate our families & going back to the scene to recover our belongings or simply collect some bare necessities. It may sound easy, but we also have our work & other responsibilities to take care of. It is not just a matter of legal rights, but one of humanitarian & practical significance. More than 72 hours have passed since the fire was put out & I believe all the concerned parties, including the insurance company, should have set up "site offices" to support residents & answer questions, even hand out emergency funds if necessary. This is the least they could have done… instead, it seems they are looking for ways to save money & pass the buck to the victims. They could take a lesson from the fine ladies (& children) of the neighboring buildings who set up food & beverage stations on site since Monday... what a wonderful neighborly gesture to relieve some of the pain. I’d also like to thank DMCC for their initiative in putting us up for the first 2-3 nights on an emergency basis & to the outpouring of support from neighbors who donated food & supplies to “complete strangers”… it was so refreshing to have a toothbrush & toothpaste delivered to our door the day after the fire, among the many other items we lacked but needed just to get by.

    B. P. Fakhry, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 09:39 November 21, 2012

    I went to the building on Tuesday night and was truly heart broken to see so much debris on the floor and additional that kept falling from the building. The displaced residents are shell shocked and their loss is beyond words. The security staff both the building and the authorities are tirelessly working to help the residents with their belongings. I applaud these people for their strong spirit and others who are helping during this difficult time. When I asked how I could help, they simply said "as the residents and staff wait from 8am to 6pm by the side of building to get their belongings (if any), a few refreshments and snacks could be big help. Additionally, one of the displaced residents suggested going to respective hotels and personally asking the residents how they could be helped with essentials like children's diapers to clothing, etc. I request everyone to please donate a gallon of water or snacks for the staff and residents as they do their best to pick up the pieces of their lives. God bless Dubai.

    farida, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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