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International City: Squalor township

Invasion by bachelors, mostly labourers, sewage spills and filthy living conditions have made the area a virtual labour camp

  • Many units in International City have become bachelor pads like this one, with Asian workers packed seven to eImage Credit: © XPRESS/Pankaj Sharma
  • Pick-up vehicles parked near the Greece cluster in International CityImage Credit: © XPRESS/Pankaj Sharma
  • Bachelors have made International City their favourite hauntImage Credit: © XPRESS/Pankaj Sharma

DUBAI: Residents of International City are concerned about a "hidden" urban squalor inside the township's cramped rooms and the "invasion" of bachelors that are driving families away.

Many have complained about the self-contained community being turned into a virtual labour camp — where a large number of Asian workers have migrated from the now-empty labour camps in the city's outskirts.

"On my floor, there are three units where dozens of men share a one-bedroom or studio unit," said a resident at the England cluster.

The situation is the same in the Italy, Greece, Russia, Morocco and China clusters — families living there want developers to do some sort of segregation.

All that litters is junk

"They drink soda, throw cans and litter everywhere and leave garbage bags on the lobby and staircases. They mess up the place throwing cigarette butts everywhere," said an irate father of two living in the England cluster.

On the face of it, International City, an affordable housing complex off the Dubai-Hatta Road, is a vibrant township with a thriving retail life, affordable gourmet hang-outs, pulsating service-oriented businesses as well as playgrounds. But behind closed doors, residents are grumbling about deteriorating living conditions.

Most of the complex's good qualities are still there, except for the lingering sewage problem in some areas and non-functioning street lights. But residents have bigger fish to fry — they are unhappy about the surging flood-tide of single men there.

"It used to be a great, quiet place," said Flory, an Asian owner-resident. "But now it's been messed up by the overwhelming number of bachelors. It's unfair to those of us who invested here."

She said that her newspaper had been nicked on several occasions.

"In my building, there only two families left. The rest have gone away. Everywhere you go, there are men milling around in the early evenings and on weekends."

Scores of hauling and sewage tanker trucks are parked near the Greece cluster. A father of two in the Spain cluster said: "We don't really talk to our neighbours here. We're OK as long as they don't bother us."

Early on Tuesday evening, XPRESS caught up with a few residents — all men and employed by a cleaning company — as they were getting out of a mini-van. "The instruction given to us is never open the door when someone knocks unless we know the person," said Prakash, the driver.

"Our boss saves on costs and does not want others to know there are six people inside one studio," he added.

This contrasts sharply with a YouTube video of International City taken in 2007 by a property dealer which shows a partially completed development with a few residents and squeaky-clean apartment units.

Moving house

Because of the lingering sewage spill problems near some clusters, many residents have ditched the complex and moved to other communities in Dubai.

A post by a resident said: "This place is a dump now … it is falling apart. No one is doing anything about it! We are ashamed to live here." No comment was available from Nakheel, the developer of International City.



Latest Comment

Nasir you are absolutely right. The management investigates complaints on overcrowding during the day when all the bachelors are out to work. Persia has become a mess for families. The circle of buildings N12 and M-05 are full of labourers. In the morning at 6:30AM you have housemaids from building M05 who keep laughing loudly and chatting in big groups with their male friends at the entrance and no one does anything. The authorities do not even come around this circle of buildings. There is no parking. People park cars even between the building gaps! Some companies are running factories that are drilling and grinding all day in building N12 on the ground floor. This work goes on till 12 AM in the morning and starts at 6AM (Fridays and holidays included). Even the garbage dumpster is moved out of its place by these companies to make space for all their 30-40 delivery vans. In building N12 there are labourers - about 8-10 in a room. In the same building there is also a babysitting business. Can you trust to leave your babies here in such conditions and environment? Now DEWA wants to levy a housing tax of 5% for International City! this is the last provocation that we require.No one is against the labourers living in the city, but they must be able to follow community rules and behave and not make a nuisance for others. Right now it is quite the contrary. My family and myself are literally going mad with the noise, pollution, lack of sanitation and lack of security. My daughter refuses to go out of the house unaccompanied as she is stared at, or whistled at by these labourers. I invested in this property as I was given dreams of a planned residency, but all that is left is the sewage. It should be renamed Crime City or Slum City.


27 February 2011 10:09jump to comments