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Wed 10 Mar 2004 04:00 AM

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Dubai tops comfort chart

Annual survey says Dubai is the region’s number one city when it comes quality of living.

Dubai’s authorities have something else to smile about. According to an annual survey carried out by global consultants Mercer Human Resource Consulting, the emirate topped the Middle East city charts for best living standards. It also came second behind its bigger brother Abu Dhabi for health and sanitation considerations.

However, Dubai still has some work to do. Although it headed the regional list with a score of 83.5, it ranked 85th globally with cities such as Barcelona, (44 - 98.5 points), New York (38 – 100 pts), Hamburg (24 –102 pts) and Perth (20 – 103 pts) still well ahead of it.

The report polled 215 cities across the world including 21 cities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The evaluation process considers 39 factors grouped into ten categories ranging from political, economic and socio-cultural issues to environment, entertainment, education and transportation.

Within the MENA region, only Dubai, Abu Dhabi (95 – 80.5 pts) and Tunis (95 – 80.5pts) were able to scramble into the top hundred. Unsurprisingly the events of 2003 meant that Baghdad propped up the entire list, ranking last with a meagre score of 14.5.

Elsewhere across the region, Amman came in at 127, Kuwait City at 142, Beirut ranked 147, Riyadh polled in at 160, Damascus 171 while Sanaa ranked a lowly 207.

As a whole, MENA saw seven cities improve their scores, eight cities declined, while six remained unchanged.

So where do you go if you want the best? The survey maintained that Switzerland was the number one choice with Zurich and Geneva coming in first and second respectively.

Mercer conducts the survey annually as a way to help multinational companies assess international hardship allowance for their expatriate workers.

Meanwhile, the health and sanitation survey evaluated cities on the basis of eight criteria, including hospital services, medical supplies, infectious diseases and air pollution.

Although both Abu Dhabi and Dubai ranked 64th globally in this report, the World Economic Forum’s recent Environmental Sustainability Index put the United Arab Emirates second to last before Kuwait.

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