90 unsafe buildings razed down in Bahrain
Manama, May 15, 2013
A total of 90 dangerous buildings in Manama have been partially demolished in the last three months as part of a crackdown on unsafe living conditions, a report said.
The figure is expected to reach around 100 in the coming days, as illegal extensions are torn down, added the report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
The work is being carried out by the Manama Municipality, based on court orders.
It earlier filed 363 cases against properties labelled dangerous, which have been housing low-income expatriate workers.
Of these, around 276 cases have been approved for partial demolition since the end of last year, Manama Municipality inspection and follow-up section manager Mohamed Saad Al Sehali confirmed yesterday.
"We have already completed 90 buildings, which will reach around 100 by the end of this week," he said.
Al Sehali stressed the demolition work was being prioritised based on the danger to residents living in buildings classed as dangerous. "We remove the unauthorised additions and co-ordinate with police on the work," he said.
"Some are flimsy additions such as shades and subdivisions of rooms using wood."
Some of these structures did not acquire permission from the municipality to be built or have not followed building regulations, said Al Sehali.
"Some have no heat or sound insulation," he said.
"The issue is that those residing there go back to their old ways, although most know it is a violation and dangerous but they persist. There is a need to raise awareness on the dangers of living in such buildings and to understand it is a choice and they should not choose to live in such conditions."
The owner of buildings earmarked for partial demolition are given 45 days to appeal the court decision and time to remove illegal extensions.
"After this period, the municipality is notified to take action," said Al Sehali.
Bahrain stepped up a crackdown on unsafe living conditions following the deaths of 13 Bangladeshi workers in a fire on January 15.
They had been among 135 people living in a three-storey building in Mukharqa, which consisted of 27 rooms illegally constructed with wooden partitions
The GDN reported last September that thousands of expatriate workers could be made homeless after a court ordered the partial demolition of 189 dangerous buildings in blocks 301, 302, 303 and 304.
Manama Municipal Council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor earlier said if any of the properties, which date back several decades, were found to be of heritage value, their files would be referred to the Culture Ministry to decide if they should be preserved. He said the expenses for knocking down dangerous properties would have to be paid for by building owners. – TradeArabia News Service