Dubai:  Schools in Al Quoz which had to evacuate their students on Wednesday had a normal operating day on Thursday but most of them said many students were absent.

On the day of the massive explosion, eleven schools were immediately evacuated in Al Qouz.

Upon learning of the explosion, the Schools Agency of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority contacted Dubai Civil Defence and agreed to immediately evacuate six schools in the area followed by five schools in neighbouring areas.

Fatma Al Merri, CEO of the Dubai Schools Agency said, "These measures were taken primarily to avoid exposing students to the smoke and ashes from the explosion and reduce congestion in the area to allow the authorities access to the neighbourhood."

"There was a large black cloud of smoke engulfing the school," said Mariam Abdul Aziz, vice-principal of Abi Hanifa elementary public school for boys. "When I first heard the piercing explosion I initially thought it came from the school but realised it was from one of the nearby warehouses. We immediately gathered the students in a large hall and contacted the civil defence."

'No point'

She said around 30-35 per cent of the students didn't show up at school yesterday, although the school had a normal academic day.

"We had to let the students leave early as there was no point in continuing the day with a large number of absences," she said.