Dubai proves resilient, Happy New Year!

Fireworks explode over Dubai's Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, during New Year celebrations January 1, 2016 (Reuters)

Dubai brought in the near year with a chain of dazzling fireworks displays bringing in the new year on Thursday night, just hours after a large fire near the main site of the celebrations engulfed a 63-storey hotel.

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Hundreds of thousands of spectators gathered around the site of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, to see a massive light and firework display.

400,000 LED lights projected patterns and the giant letters “2016” off the side of the tower, amid 1.6 tons of fireworks going off in sequence.

Spectators said their spirits had not been dampened by the earlier blaze, which happened just a few hundred meters away in Dubai's glitzy downtown district at the Address hotel.

According to UAE's official news agency WAM, there were 16 minor injuries, one moderate while one person suffered a heart attack. Most of the injuries were due to overcrowding and smoke inhalation at the fire site.

“We weren’t present when the fire first started but we came to this area when we saw a lot of people gathering here. The fireworks are incredible,” said Steven Princapeth, an engineer from the Philippines.

“We’re here because it’s my brother’s first new years in Dubai. This is our first new years with the whole family all together.”

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The 20-minute fireworks displays - which begin on the stroke of midnight every year - are a part of a country-wide chain of fireworks which includes the capital Abu Dhabi and Dubai’s neighboring emirate of Sharjah.

Taking place at the same time of the first massive fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa, a second show lit up Dubai’s iconic sail-shaped Burj al-Arab hotel some 15 kilometers away.

 

The city-wide show’s finale took place at the upscale Jumeirah Beach Residence area.

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Earlier, at around 9:30 pm, the 300 meter-tall luxury Address Downtown hotel caught fire, sending huge plumes of smoke high into the sky and civil defense teams rushing to the scene.

Fourteen people received minor injuries in a stampede caused by crowds running from the blaze, Dubai authorities said.

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The Dubai government said it would provide alternative hotel accomodation to people who had booked rooms in the hotel, which is still smoldering.

In a show of solidarity with those who have been left without a place to stay after the hotel fire, Dubai twitter users launched a campaign #NeedAnAddress, offering their homes and sofas.

Read more:
Fire engulfs hotel near Dubai new year fireworks

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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