Bahrain's blaze-hit suq to be rebuilt: Premier
Manama, June 4, 2014
Bahrain's Premier has called for the blaze-hit suq in Muharraq to be rebuilt. His Royal Highness Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa gave the instructions as he inspected the damage.
He directed authorities to assess losses and investigate the cause of the blaze and also ordered a review of safety and security standards in the suq, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
He stressed the need to fast-track the reconstruction work of the market.
The Premier was briefed on efforts made to put out the fire, prevent it from spreading to neighbouring areas and limit losses.
He expressed his keenness to alleviate the plight of blaze-hit traders and pledged to reduce their losses so that their livelihoods could be preserved.
"Muharraq suq is a vibrant commercial artery and deep-rooted iconic monument," he said.
Following the Premier's directives, Muharraq Governor Salman Bin Hindi met officials representing the ministries of interior and culture to discuss the consequences of Monday's blaze. Muharraq municipal councillors, municipality chief and affected traders attended. An assessment report will be submitted to the Premier's Court early next week.
$395,737 lost in blaze
A Bahraini businessman has lost more than BD150,000 ($395,737) after 10 of his shops were completely destroyed by fire that ripped through one of Bahrain's biggest markets.
Yousif Mohammed Buzaboon fears he could lose more money as he expects his businesses to remain closed until after the Eid holidays.
Traders were not allowed inside the old Muharraq suq yesterday morning to salvage their belongings as forensic teams were still gathering evidence to find the cause of the fire, which gutted 42 shops on Monday.
Firemen were also on standby at the scene because smoke was still rising from some shops. Traders yesterday appealed for government support in hopes of cutting their losses.
"My brothers and I have owned chain stores for more than 60 years and it was very sad to see the fire ripping through our shops," said Buzaboon.
"Ten of our shops were severely damaged and it could cost more than BD160,000 to repair them.
"We sell clothes and shoes, but it's all gone now.
"I expect we will face more losses as we won't be able to open during Ramadan and Eid. This is the time we do the most business, but I think we cannot even think to open for another six months."
The 52-year-old said his workers were now jobless because of the fire.
"There are around 30 to 40 people who work in these shops - they are all jobless now," he said.
"The shops need to be cleaned, renovated and then reopened for business, which could take months.
"The government must consider the workers' plight as well and offer them help."
The GDN yesterday reported that 65 Civil Defence personnel, 18 fire engines and three water tankers battled the blaze for more than three hours.
It broke out at around 1.20pm in one of the shops and quickly spread due to the presence of flammable materials.
A shop worker said the blaze started due to a short circuit in one of the clothes shops.
"I heard a loud sound and went out of the shop to see what happened," said Mohammed Basheer, who works in a tailoring shop.
"I saw a lot of smoke and flames coming out of one of the shops and many people standing next to it.
"We were all afraid to go near it as it spread quickly.
"The fire has left many workers jobless."
Residents who live in flats behind the gutted shops were not allowed to enter their homes as the area was shut down.
One Indian family, who slept at a friend's house the night of the fire, waited outside the market for hours yesterday morning in the hope of being allowed inside.
"We got to know about the fire from a friend and went to see our flat," said Jisha Varghese, who works as a nurse.
"But police didn't allow us inside as the area was cordoned off Monday night.
"We came back again yesterday morning but we are still waiting to get permission to take our clothes.
"I have a four-year-old son, who wants to go back home to play with his toys, but a police officer said they won't allow us to go inside until they finish investigation and collect evidence." - TradeArabia News Service