Letter Re: The UAE’s Planned Three Month Food Stockpile

In response to the recently-linked article about the UAE’s planned food stockpile: Having worked in Dubai and Abu Dhabi off and on for the last five years I can tell you that during the best of times the food supply is iffy at best. When you go to the market you might get one item one day and not see it again for a year. And I am not talking about seasonal or exotic items — trying to get the same type of flour twice in a row is a task in and of itself.

And try to tell an upset woman that “flour is flour.” My friend’s wife just about knifed him when he said that while she was trying to make gnocchi just right (and I thought it was only potatoes in it).

So the three month supply just makes sense even without a disruption in that part of the world.

I would add though that lots of the ex-pats over there do stockpile as a routine matter of course (or did — I have not been there since the financial crises began) and keep several weeks of water in cisterns (those that have their own house — leased for 99 years). During times of stress the various ex-pat community groups also prepare evacuation plans (I was included in the Australian plans because my friend who brought me over there was Aussie … and most of them figured I just had a speech impediment instead of being American) on their own using the “social clubs” that the embassies have as an unofficial way of keeping tabs on folks. Because if you are not at least Arab, then don’t expect the local government to help. – Hugh D.