All photos by Chantelle D’mello
A sea of dilapidated and rusted cars has enveloped nearly a square kilometer of desert outside Al Wukair, creating a final resting place for thousands of vehicles that used to cruise the country’s roads.
From high above, images on Google Maps make the rows of buses, pickup trucks and sports coupes appear structured and orderly.
The view on the ground, however, shows a far more chaotic cluster of abandoned, quarantined or confiscated vehicles.
Approximately a week after a video, shot from a camera mounted on an aerial drone, was posted on YouTube, Doha News went out to explore the property.
The site is located off Al Wukair Street and is composed of two yards. One is staffed and fenced off, holding vehicles that may still be claimed, while an adjacent open lot is home to vehicles being salvaged for parts. Together, the sites contain approximately 20,000 to 24,000 vehicles, according to an estimate of a security guard.
Some still have Coke bottles in the cupholders and personal trinkets such as clothes and key chains spilling out of the glove compartment, leaving the impression that they were deserted – or towed – in a hurry.
Others appear to have been meticulously mined for spare parts and have been left with their hoods stretched wide open, exposing the remaining components.
Elsewhere, the skeletal remains of vehicles void of seats, windshields and electronics are stacked atop one another, creating short columns of twisted metal and broken glass amid wafts of petrol.
A sign affixed to the fence cordoning off one yard says the area falls under the jurisdiction of the Mechanical Materials Management department of Baladiya, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning.
A security guard at the site said unclaimed cars and trucks can be sold to salvage companies, which will then strip the vehicles for parts on the property.
Unwanted cars, such as those completely totalled in collisions or those that have been picked clean of all useful components, are then taken to the outskirts of the property where they are left to be towed, collected or simply sit under the scorching sun.