Lebanon News

Syrian dies of suffocation while cleaning toxic sewage

SIDON, Lebanon: Syrian worker Hussein Ali Khodairat died of suffocation Monday during work hours at a leather tannery located near the southern city of Sidon’s notorious landfill.

His colleague, Jasem Mohammad Shehade, experienced malaise. Security sources told The Daily Star that shop owner Ali Habli asked Khodairat to clean a sewage canal that contained extracts of toxic materials used in leather tanning processes.

Khodairat had to dig into a 4-meter-deep hole, while Shehade helped him. As he cleaned the canal, Khodairat fainted after inhaling unpleasant odors coming from toxic materials dumped in the sewage.

Rescue teams of the Civil Defense who wore protective masks arrived to the tannery and tried to help the two workers get out of the hole. The Civil Defense transferred the two workers to the Labib Medical Center in Sidon but Khodairat died shortly afterward. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 21, 2012, on page 4.




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