Dubai: 999, the emergency number in the country, is one of the busiest numbers in the country, naturally, but often for all the wrong reasons.

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Many residents call 999 seeking a taxi or to find out the traffic situation. Hundreds of trivial and inane calls are made to 999 every day, hindering the work of police on emergency duty.

A staggering 573,471 calls were made to 999 in 2007 and these were not emergencies. Most were enquiries on speed limits on roads, location of certain departments, traffic fines, transactions related to the Naturalisation and Residency Department and complaints against taxi drivers.

Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police, recently said: "Nobody knows the amount of effort that goes into answering calls on 999. Therefore, people should only call 999 in case of emergencies which require the immediate presence of security or rescue personnel," he said.

In an attempt to offer easy access to information, Gulf News has compiled some of the important telephone numbers in the country.

We have compiled some of the essential numbers, including traffic, transport and hospital numbers, which are in an easily downloadable PDF format. We will be adding to the list as and when we get and verify essential telephone numbers.