Middle East

Death toll from Qatar labor camp blaze rises to 13

DOHA: The death toll from a fire at a Qatari labor camp last week has risen to 13 after two more victims succumbed to their injuries, a medical official said Tuesday.

"The total number (dead) is now 13," the official at Doha's Hamad General Hospital, who did not wish to be named, told AFP.

The interior ministry previously reported 11 people had died in the blaze, which broke out at a camp for laborers working on a waterfront tourism project in southwestern Qatar.

It is believed the latest two victims from Wednesday's fire were among the 12 people the ministry also said were being treated for injuries at Hamad hospital.

The medical official said the pair died on Sunday.

The identity of the victims – and their nationality – has not been made public.

Authorities have said an investigation is being carried out to determine the cause of the blaze.

The tragedy is thought to be one of the worst fires in recent times in Qatar, since a 2012 blaze at the Villagio shopping mall killed 19, including 13 children.

The latest fire has once again placed a spotlight on how the wealthy, energy-rich Gulf nation treats its vast number of migrant laborers, working on numerous infrastructure projects.

Qatar, which will host the football World Cup in 2022, has been condemned by human rights groups, including Amnesty International, for providing "squalid and cramped accommodation" for the migrant workforce.

But Doha has hit back in recent months, claiming it has made great strides in improving the quality of accommodation for a large number of laborers.

Subsequently, it is in the process of building seven modern "cities" to house almost 260,000 workers, with the first of these already open.

Government figures show that almost 60 percent of Qatar's population live in what it calls "labor camps."

 

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