Tragedy and redemption

February 28, 2014 - 5:53:26 am

The way government agencies dealt with the situation after the tragedy speaks volumes about their efficiency.

The restaurant explosion in Doha which killed 11 persons and injured 35 yesterday is indeed one of those incidents which no city wishes upon its citizens. Qatar was galvanized by the accident which took place at the eatery located at a fuel station. Though nothing can reduce the magnitude of the tragedy, there is a redeeming factor. The blast, which took place in a gas tank in the restaurant, was not strong enough to hit the fuel station. Hence a much bigger tragedy was prevented. 

The accident, however tragic, has a silver lining. It showed the government and the public’s sensitivity to the plight of the dead and injured. It also showed that the security services are capable and well equipped to deal with such a situation. The Prime Minister and Interior Minister H E Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani inspected the scene of the blast at Istanbul Restaurant near the Landmark Mall. The visit showed how sincere the government is about people’s safety and security.

The Interior Ministry organised a press conference not much later in which the Director of Public Security Staff Major General Saad bin Jassim Al Khulaifi cleared the air on the number of dead and injured and the extent of the damage. The Director of Operations at the General Directorate of Civil Defence, Brigadier Hamad Al Duhaimi, who also addressed the press conference, said that civil defence personnel arrived at the scene eight minutes after it took place. The time fire fighters take to reach the site of an accident is an important benchmark of the efficiency of the department. The Civil Defence Department showed its efficiency in reaching the site of the blast as quickly as possible. 

The Interior Ministry was quick in announcing a probe into the incident. In keeping with the directives of the prime minister, a commission has been set up by the Interior Ministry, Lekhwiya and Qatar Fuel Company to launch an investigation into the incident and assess the damage. 

Hamad Medical Corporation’s response to the tragedy is also laudable. Ambulances promptly responded to the emergency and paramedics dealt with the critically injured at the site. The families of the injured are being given full emotional support by HMC professional. 

The way the common public responded to calls for blood donation over social media and television shows the empathy of society. HMC saw long queues as hundreds turned up to donate blood for the injured.

Though nothing can bring back what has been lost, the efficiency of government and security agencies in the aftermath of a tragedy is a hallmark of good administration. To this effect, the government, health and security services yesterday showed that they are up to it.