Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Drive to Reduce Traffic Deaths in Qatar

I am a great admirer of Brig Mohamed Abduallah al-Malki. I remember once, when Qatar was much smaller, when he printed his phone number in the paper and told people to call him when they saw drivers misbehaving. What a brave man, a committed man, and a courageous man.

I admire his persistence, his sincere desire to bring down traffic deaths in Qatar.

Yesterday, as I was driving, I noticed most drivers slowing down – when that happens, you know there are new speed cameras set up, and you slow down too. You slow down – or most of us do. There are a visible few who seem to believe that the rules do not apply to them.

There is a persistent rumor that traffic fatalities fell dramatically when the new laws were introduced – and enforced – equally – against all law breakers. As long as laws are enforced equally against ALL nationalities, the death rate will lower.

To me, it is a huge national tragedy that so many young Qatteri men lose their lives, or are seriously physically damaged, in traffic accidents that could have been prevented. It is like a huge national resource, just wasted, all that potential, gone.

This is from today’s Gulf Times

Drive to raise students’ road safety awareness

Traffic department and IBQ officials at the launch of the campaign yesterday
By Riham el-Houshi

The ‘Schools without Accidents’ campaign launched yesterday for the second year running by the Traffic Department is aimed at cutting the number of road accidents in Qatar by half, a top official has said. The campaign aims at raising awareness about road safety among students.

Traffic Department expert and general co-ordinator of the National Campaign for Road Accident Prevention, Brig Mohamed Abduallah al-Malki, said “there has been a decrease in the number of deaths in 2009 but a final picture will emerge only by December.”

The number of road accident deaths in the country fell by 20% in 2008 compared to the previous year. The total number of road accidents last year was 20,455, with approximately 200 deaths, according to the Traffic Department.

The initiative, launched within the framework of the ‘National Campaign for Road Accidents Prevention,’ is a programme to raise awareness on the importance of road safety among students across Qatar.
Al-Malki added that 35% of road accident victims were pedestrians who were usually expatriates.

“Therefore the campaign this year will focus on expatriate schools as well as local ones,” al-Malki pointed out.

The campaign will be funded by the International Bank of Qatar (IBQ), who has given QR500,000 to the Traffic Department. The bank donated QR250,000 to the cause last year. According to al-Malki, the money will be spent on brochures, signboards, and competitions.

“Too many of our young people never have the chance to realise life’s opportunities as their lives are cut tragically short by preventable road accidents,” said IBQ managing director George Nasra.

“We can and must do even more to reduce the number of traffic accidents and fatalities – especially among our youth.”

A recent survey conducted by Gulf Times had shown that 41% of the respondents feel that Qatar was the worst country to drive because of the number of accidents caused by reckless driving.

September 29, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Cultural, Doha, ExPat Life, Law and Order, Leadership, News, Qatar, Social Issues, Statistics | 2 Comments

Changing Times for Qatar Divorcees?

Many Westerners think all Qattaris (and Kuwaitis, and Emiratis, and Saudis) are rich. The movies tell us so, just as they tell the rest of the world that all us US citizens live on large ranches outside of Dallas and have big hair and wear cocktail dresses during the daytime and lead immoral lives, LLLLOOOOLLLLL. The truth, as I see it, is that in every country I live, we all face similar problems.

Qatari divorcees call for review of law on housing
Web posted at: 9/29/2009 1:8:46
Source ::: The Peninsula

DOHA: Qatari divorcees are entitled to free government housing only if they remain unmarried (after divorce) for five years in a row, so many of them with no job and children to support are urging the authorities to review this rule.

The divorce rate being very high in Qatar and many divorcees taking custody of their children as well prefer to live away from their parents in rented accommodation.

And since not all divorcees are employed and financially independent they struggle to make ends meet with meager monthly maintenance amounts they receive from their former husbands.

Government housing rules in the country specify that Qatari women who remain unmarried up to the age of 35 are entitled to free state housing.

One of the divorcees told Al Sharq on grounds of anonymity that life for her and her children had become miserable as the monthly rent she had to pay for the rented accommodation was quite high.

Living off meager maintenance amount, she said she was finding it extremely hard to make ends meet, especially as children’s education is to be taken care of which is an expensive affair.

“We, therefore, want the government to review its housing rules and consider our plight on humanitarian grounds,” she said emphatically.

“More than the spinsters, we need a government house because spinsters can anyway stay with their parents,” said the woman.

According to her, living in rented accommodation with children for five years consecutively after divorce is near-impossible due to the fact that the maintenance amounts given by their former husbands are fixed while rents have been going up.

September 29, 2009 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Doha, Family Issues, Living Conditions, Qatar | Leave a comment