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By Aamena Ahmed
The new residence halls in Education City are noted for being highly efficient, technologically advanced and environmentally friendly, but the flooding of the female dorms last night has raised concern over whether or not the new dorms were really ready for move-in this semester, according to students and security staff.
“In terms of everything working a 100% when the students first moved into the residence halls…that was not a possibility,” said Ahmad Hamed, a senior community development advisor in the new residence halls in an interview earlier this week. “Even though this place has been rushed in certain aspects toward completion, almost everything necessary for a student to enjoy these halls was ready when they first walked into their rooms.”
When reached out for a comment regarding the flood, neither the Qatar Foundation Residence Hall Directors (RHD) or the Community Development Advisors (CDAs) in the residence halls have responded. That’s because they don’t have the authority to discuss the situation at the moment, according to the RHD emergency hotline.
But recent events have thrown the student housing’s claims of technological superiority in doubt. Late last month, during freshman orientation week, there was an uncontrollable fire alarm, which rang for three hours. It was finally contained by turning off the fire alarm system temporarily, according to an email sent out by the housing staff on August 21st. And just last night, two pipelines burst in the Suduq Hall building, one of the female residence halls, flooding at least 5 centimeters of the ground floor of the east hallway, according to the security guard who was on duty that night.
Students were asked to move from their rooms at 1 a.m. when Winta Teklay, the security guard on night duty in Suduq Hall discovered the flood in the east corridor of the ground floor, according to Leocy Baynosa, a security guard who was on duty this morning.
Residents in the east corridor were asked to evacuate to other spare rooms or share a room with their friends for the night, said Northwestern University in Qatar freshman Nayab Malik, a resident on the floor who was asked to evacuate her room.
She was with a friend on the first floor of Suduq Hall when she heard the floor downstairs had been flooded. She went to check on her belongings but when she got downstairs, she was not allowed further than the reception area. Other students from the east hallway were gathering in the reception area as well. All of them were asked to sleep elsewhere for the night, Malik said.
“There was so much confusion and stuff, we didn’t really know what was going on. Girls were in their sleeping clothes and maintenance workers were everywhere,” Malik said. “The carpets were drenched with water and the floors were flooded ankle deep.”
At 1:55 a.m. the security informed the central operations plant in Qatar Foundation and many maintenance workers, along with Senior Operator Rommel Nacionales, were on site.
“Upon checking, we found out that rooms 45 and 46 (in Suduq Hall), which are currently occupied, both had pipeline bursts,” Nacionales said this morning. The residents in both rooms where the pipeline burst are still not back in their rooms yet.
According to NU-Q freshman Omaima Es-Samaali, who also lives on the ground floor, one of them is out of the country, in Jordan, for the weekend. The other student, Sawsan Shukri, a student in the Academic Bridge Program, has been temporarily relocated to another room on the same floor. At 2 a.m. yesterday, water started dripping from her ceiling and soon her entire room floor was flooded with at least two inches of water. As she rushed to pick up her things and put them on a higher surface, her bed, suitcase and even her shoes could not be saved.
“They all became soaked in water and there was nothing I could do. I just felt so helpless,” said Shukri.
The damaged pipes were patched by 2:30 a.m. and the leakage stopped by 3:15 a.m. last night, according to Nacionales.
The Community Development Advisors (CDAs) worked with the students until 5 a.m. when the situation was under control, said many students.
“They were with us the whole time downstairs and it really brought all of us together as a community,” Malik added.
The water supply, which had been temporarily cut off for the night in order to fix up the leaking pipes, started flowing again by 3:30 a.m., a security guard, said.
Maintenance workers have been at the scene since the flooding was discovered and many are still working to clean the carpet in the east corridor.
In addition, earlier complaints from students included malfunctioning air conditioners and no electricity in some rooms. In response to this, Qatar Foundation Housing and Residence Life (HRL) has hired specialized engineers to work around the clock to fix such issues, Hamed said.
“It takes time and effort to respond to each maintenance request, but one by one they are being tackled,” he said.805 Views