The United Arab Emirates consists of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajuman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm Al Quwain. The capital of UAE is Abu Dhabi which is the largest emirate while the most populous city is Dubai, which accounts for almost 36.5 per cent of the total population.
The Federal Supreme Council consists of the individual rulers from the seven emirates who select the President usually from Abu Dhabi and the Prime Minister, normally from Dubai. The president in turn appoints ministers and the council of ministers manages all internal and foreign affairs of the federation.
UAE has a population of about 9.7 million people and approximately 87 per cent of the population consists of expatriates and immigrant workers mainly from India, Pakistan, Philippines, and Egypt while only 12.1 per cent is Emirati Arabs from the emirates. About 85 per cent of the population is concentrated in three emirates; Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
UAE’s economy has grown steadily in the last 50 years since its independence. It is currently the second largest economy in the GCC. The economic growth is attributed to oil the industry, foreign investments and economic diversification. In 2018, the oil and gas sector contributed 26 per cent to the overall GDP and the rest was from wholesale and retail trade, financial and insurance, construction and building, tourism among others. Abu Dhabi, the capital, is the centre of industry, commerce, and major cultures, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the UAE’s economy.
Risks, Hazards and Preparedness
The UAE is prone to flash floods, landslides, tropical and dust storms. To mitigate the impact and respond to disasters, the National Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management Authority (NCEMA) was established in 2007.
The NCEMA which operates under the supervision of the Supreme Council for National Security is responsible for regulating and coordinating all efforts of emergency, crisis and disaster management as well as the development of a national plan for responding to emergencies. NCEMA oversees the development of response capabilities by proposing and coordinating programs among stakeholders at the local and national levels and updating them on a regular basis. In addition, it participates in preparing the risks and threats log at both national and local levels, and periodically updates it in cooperation and coordination with the concerned authorities.
UAE has two Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams; UAE USAR and the Dubai Police Rescue Team, who are the partners to international humanitarian operations through the INSARAG. The national coastguard also carries out search and rescue operations at sea.
Humanitarian Assistance and Response
UAE is a key international player in delivering humanitarian assistance and shaping relevant policies, particularly for Arab and Islamic countries. In 2008, the UAE established International Humanitarian City (IHC) in Dubai. The IHC is a global logistical hub for humanitarian aid as well as a platform for United Nations agencies and NGOs to strengthen aid response.
The UAE Committee for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid, headed by the Minister of International Cooperation and Development, launched the Humanitarian Emergency Response Manual in 2015 in partnership with OCHA. The manual provides information and guidance for responders to disasters and humanitarian crises in the international humanitarian field.
UAE Red Crescent is a primary humanitarian arm of the country and operates based on governmental directives. It is one of the first responders not only to the national emergencies but also to the regional emergencies supported by a number of volunteers.