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Fire razes Chinese pavilion in Dubai
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-02-05 01:32

China's trade pavilion in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates was seriously damaged by a fire on Thursday and nearly all of the stands were razed.

Above: A photo taken on January 11 shows the original grandeur of the gate of China's trade pavilion
Down: Only a skeleton of of the showcase gateway to China's trade pavilion in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, remains following a massive blaze on Thursday. Nearly all 120 stands representing China were destroyed in the fire. [China Daily]
A senior Chinese international trade official said that of the 120 stands from China, about 110 stands at the annual shopping festival were damaged, sparing only seven to eight shops.

"China pavilion was seriously damaged, although the extent of the damage is still being ascertained," said Zhang Xijiang, a deputy from China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.

"It is a great loss for the Chinese trade exhibitors."

He extended hopes that the Dubai authorities can do something for the Chinese people who suffered losses from the fire. He also hoped that other countries' pavilions would take extra caution to prevent future fires.

The fire razed three pavilions to the ground.

Speaking at a press briefing about the event on Thursday, Saeed Al Naboudah, CEO of the Dubai Shopping Festival, said: "The Global Village experienced a fire today due to an electrical short circuit in the Nepal pavilion which extended to the Chinese and Jordanian pavilions due to strong wind. The Civil Defence immediately controlled the fire and there were no causalities involved."

But Xinhua reported that the cause of fire was still under investigation.

Local media quoted witnesses saying that the fire broke out in the morning and spread across to the neighbouring areas due to the wind. Since the pavilions were mainly made of plywood and thermocol, the fire spread even more quickly, Ahmed, a welder from India told the Khaleej Times.

Al Naboudah said a full investigation will be conducted by the Dubai police and an official report will soon be issued to the public. But the Global Village will function as normal and all the activities will resume from Thursday onwards.

Asha Lama, organizer of the Nepal pavilion, said the new pavilion will be up and running in a few days, but it is not confirmed yet whether Chinese exhibitors will have a new pavilion or not.

Hussain, organizer of the Jordanian Pavilion told the Khaleej Times that they were currently in discussions with the various parties involved on the issue of compensation.

"We are meeting today to discuss the issue with several parties regarding insurance claims. We have also contacted the stall-keepers and told them about the situation," he said.

(China Daily 02/05/2005 page2)

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