Venomous redback spiders are making a comeback in Dubai, with locals reporting sightings on a daily basis in the Al Furjan area of the city.
The growing problem has sparked fear among residents, particularly given the large number of children in the area.
Master developer Nakheel and Dubai Municipality have given mixed responses when contacted by residents.
Manuel Porta, a resident in Al Furjan, said he found a redback spider with a nest in front of his porch steps “just one metre from the entrance door of my villa”.
He called Nakheel but claimed he was told they were not responsible for the problem.
“So I called Dubai Municipality and on showing them the picture of the spider, they carried out the pest control,” said Porta.
“We haven't seen any other redback so far after Dubai Municipality came but discoveries in Al Furjan are on daily basis,” he added.
Nakheel, however, did respond to another resident’s concern.
James Power, who also lives in the area said: “The reports of spiders being found in Al Furjan is widespread and almost daily.
“A friend and colleague found three - one inside his villa, and two more on his balconies.”
However, after contacting Nakheel via email, a representative told Power: “Instruction sent to Pest Control Service Provider to visit the villa immediately and take necessary action.”
Arabian Business managed to make contact with Dubai Municipality, who confirmed that the problem should be dealt with by Nakheel, as the developer. Dr El-Mahy, of the pest control department at the municipality, told Arabian Business: “If it belongs to Nakheel, they have their own contractor. This is what you call an investment or development area that belongs to Nakheel. Emaar and Nakheel have their own pest control contractor.
“All of these investment areas, like Al Furjan, Springs, JBR – these either belong to Nakheel, Damac or Emaar, and this (pest control) is carried out by their own company.”
Arabian Business has submitted a query to Dubai Municipality about plans for extending the pest control to a larger region, but has not received a response as yet.
Redback spiders, most commonly found in Australia, have resurfaced in Dubai after reports last year of sightings in Silicon Oasis, The Springs, Arabian Ranches and Umm Suquiem.
At that time, Dubai Municipality issued advice for residents to remain calm and to take precautions.
Redbacks are dangerous if the bite victim is left untreated, so timely and proper treatment is needed when a bite occurs.
Should a bite occur, the advice is to make sure that the victim is hospitalised. All Dubai hospitals are equipped with the proper anti-venom. If possible, apply ice to the bite, but don’t apply tight bandages. Also, take a picture of the spider, or bring a specimen of the spider to the hospital, so medics and properly treat the wound.
Not native to the Dubai area, the redbacks are believed to have been imported to the emirate, possibly inside plants.
The latest concern by residents comes as Nakheel's chairman Ali Rashid Lootah announced on Wednesday the state-owned developer will repay all its outstanding debt to banks by August this year, four years ahead of the schedule mandated by its restructuring plan.
The repayments will total AED5.54bn ($1.5bn), and will be funded from Nakheel's own resources rather than support from the Dubai government, Lootah said.
* Nakheel no longer responds to media enquiries from Arabian Business, nor does it grant Arabian Business access to any of its media events or announcements.
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