Three trade pavilions in the Global Village, including China's, at the Dubai Shopping Festival, in the United Arab Emirates, were seriously damaged by fire on Thursday.
A senior international trade official said that, of the 120 stands in the Chinese pavilion, only seven or eight were spared.
"The pavilion was seriously damaged, although the extent of destruction is still being ascertained," said Zhang Xijiang, a deputy from the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. "It is a great loss for the exhibitors."
He expressed hope that the Dubai authorities can do something for the Chinese people who suffered losses in the blaze. He also hoped that other countries' pavilions will take extra care to prevent future fires.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, the festival's CEO Saeed Al Naboudah 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 winds. The Civil Defense immediately controlled the fire and there were no causalities."
Local media quoted witnesses as saying the fire broke out in the morning and spread to neighboring areas. 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 activities will resume from Thursday.
Asha Lama, organizer of the Nepal pavilion, said their new structure 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.
A representative from Jordan's pavilion, Hussain, 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 insurance claims. We have also contacted stall-keepers and told them about the situation," he said.
(China Daily February 5, 2005)