Abu Dhabi-funded second world class cyclone shelter in Australia opened

WAM Queensland, 22nd Jan. 2013 (WAM) — Mr Sultan Abdullah Alyammahi, Charge? d’Affaires at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Australia, has opened the second world class cyclone shelter for Ingham people of Queensland State in Australia.

Addressing the opening ceremony, the UAE diplomat said that he was honoured to help open a second cyclone shelter that will provide a sanctuary for at-risk communities in the event of a natural disaster.

“The United Arab Emirates and Australia enjoy an important bilateral relationship,” Mr Alyammahi said.

“The opening of this cyclone shelter is further testimony to the strength and depth of that relationship and the many areas of mutual cooperation that exist between our two countries.” Premier Campbell Newman of Queensland said the new category five cyclone shelter at Ingham State High School is the second of 10 to be opened across Queensland as part of a $60 million cyclone shelter program jointly funded by the Queensland Government and the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have so many representatives from the local community here today because it’s the community that will benefit from this facility,” Mr Newman said.

“It’s been two years since Cyclone Yasi tore through this part of the state, leaving a trail of devastation. Shelters like this one are an important part of making sure north Queensland is better protected next time around.

“This cyclone shelter, and the others in the program, would not have been possible without the $30 million donation from the Government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and I extend my thanks to them for this generous contribution,” he said.

Minister for Public Works Tim Mander said the 1500 square metre facility would make the Ingham community more resilient in the event of a cyclone.

“We can’t predict when the natural elements will put us to the test but what we can do is make sure we are properly prepared,” Mr Mander said.

“This cyclone shelter is capable of withstanding winds of more than 300 kilometres per hour, as experienced in a category five cyclone.

“Following a rigorous consultation period, this site was chosen as it was deemed to be outside of potential storm tide inundation and not at risk from flood, landslip or other significant hazards.” “As well as providing shelter for up to 800 people in a cyclone, this building serves as a multipurpose sports facility, featuring netball and basketball courts, a sports lab and teaching facilities.” In November 2012, UAE Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs Khaled Al Ghaith opened the first of cyclone shelter and mixed-purpose facilities, built at a total cost of $60 million. Half of this cost – $30 million – was met by the emirate of Abu Dhabi, in support of the Australian state of Queensland.