The office of the UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan in Kabul. The 10 nations that chose Dubai are Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran, Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain. Image Credit: Supplied


United Nations employees who are evacuated in times of crisis or natural disasters in 10 countries across the Middle East and East Asia will be transported to Dubai, an official said on Tuesday following a recent mock drill to gauge preparedness by Dubai Police.

Major General Kamel Butti Al Suwaidi, Director of the Operations Department at Dubai Police, said the UN chose Dubai to become a shelter for 3,700 UN employees due to the security and high standards of the evacuation process in the city.

“In case of emergencies, danger or disaster in those countries, Dubai will be the first destination of evacuation for UN employees,” Maj Gen Al Suwaidi said in a press conference at Dubai Officers Club.

Alexander Peridis, UN Security Advisor, said the 10 countries who agreed to choose Dubai as evacuation point for UN employees are Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Iran, Oman, Yemen, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain.

“Dubai provided all the facilities and smooth procedures to evacuate UN employees and their families in emergencies or disasters in those countries. Dubai is a shelter for the UN employees in such situations,” Peridis said.

He said that in 2010, the UN evacuated employees to Dubai after a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan.

“UAE continues to contribute to UN efforts in the field of security and safety. We need to be ready for any emergency or disaster and Dubai set an example of professionalism in dealing with such situations,” Perdis added.

Meanwhile, Dubai Police organised an evacuation drill for 300 UN employees on October 15 at Dubai International Airport Terminal 2 in a bid to test preparedness and keep evacuation procedures smooth and hassle-free.

“After the successful results of the drill, we decided to conduct the drill twice per year to develop the skills and cut response times even more,” Maj Gen Al Suwaidi said.

The drill

Colonel Ahmad Burqibah, acting director of Crisis and Disaster Management said the drill was in collaboration with the UN department for Safety and Security on receiving 300 evacuated UN workers and their families based on a special scenario.

“The scenario began with a hypothetical attack on a UN premises in a country in the Middle East and we received a request at 9am from the UN to evacuate 300 people including three who were seriously injured and 12 others with minor to moderate injuries. Within one hour we were prepared and ready to facilitate the evacuation,” Col Burqibah said.

He pointed out that once the report was received by Dubai Police’s operation room at the airport, teams started to provide logistics support with coordination with all partners at Dubai Airports.

“Rescue and medical teams, including a helicopter from the air-wing were dispatched to the site along with a trained psychologist. Two special corridors were provided to facilitate the entry of evacuated staff and facilitate the procedures for UN employees who lost their identity papers.”

According to the drill’s scenario, 100 people would be transferred to the transit area to leave to their country immediately while 183 people complete their entry procedures and are transported to hotels in Dubai. About 15 minor and moderate injuries were transferred to hospitals or treated at site, and two would be airlifted to a nearby hospital due to their serious injuries.