Fires kill workers in Bangladesh, Germany and elsewhere, as bosses’ profits often prevail over workers’ safety.
Migrant workers killed in Bahrain fire
Firefighters locate remains of 13 people in three-storey building that caught fire at labour camp in capital, Manama.
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2013 06:53
A fire in a labour camp in the Bahraini capital Manama has killed at least 13 people, the country’s civil defence department has said.
The Bahrain News Agency quoted the acting head of civil defence as saying that firefighters had found the bodies of 13 people inside the three-storey building on Friday.
Hundreds of thousands of foreign labourers, mainly from the Asian subcontinent, work in the island kingdom, one of six oil-producing Gulf Arab states that rely heavily on foreign labour.
From Gulf Daily News:
The death toll could rise as firemen were late last night still searching the site for more victims after the roof of the building collapsed during the blaze.
The dead workers have yet to be identified. …
From the BBC:
The nationalities of those who died in unclear.
“In that building there are 28 rooms, of which there are three rooms occupied by Pakistani nationals and the rest occupied by Bangladeshis,” one resident of the building told Reuters.
According to the 2010 census, there are more than 660,000 foreign nationals living in Bahrain – the vast majority of whom are described as Asian – out of a total population of 1.23m.
From Migrant Rights:
A fire in a Manama labor camp killed at least 13 migrant workers on January 11. No information regarding the cause of the fire has been released, but Bahraini labour camps hold a seriously dangerous safety record: In May, a fire in an overcrowded labor camp killed 10 Bangladeshis. In 2009, two men were killed in another overcrowded labor camp – the sixth fire that had struck Bahraini labor camps within a 4-week period.
Twelve men shared a single room with no beds or air conditioning. Image from HRW
In 2008, a fire killed three Bangladeshis living in a run-down building, In 2007, a fire destroyed camps in East Riffa. In 2006, a fire killed 16 Indians and injured 7 others at another Manama labor camp.
A 2006 fire in Bahrain left at least 16 laborers dead. Image from ConstructionWeekOnline.com
Bahraini authorities as well as the companies responsible for these camps have repeatedly rejected efforts to improve housing standards. In 2008, Bahrain’s Migrant Workers’ Protection Society’s (MWPS) attempt to improve safety measures in several labor camp were received with little enthusiasm. Furthermore, some laborers who complain claim they get blackmailed by their companies or threatened with deportation.
Migrant Rights will continue to monitor the incident and will provide updates as more information is released.
Bahraini activist’s triumphant return. Amid a groundswell of support for the Al-Khawaja family to win the Nobel Prize, daughter Maryam ends her exile: here.
The Bahrain Blackout in Arab Media: here.
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- Bahraini jails anti-regime activists, overturns appeals (rt.com)
- 13 workers killed in accommodation blaze (gulfnews.com)
- Bahrain’s Top Court Upholds Prison Terms for 13 Dissidents (blogs.voanews.com)
- A worthy, necessary Nobel honoring the Arab Spring – and much more (salon.com)
- Bahrain activist risks arrest (bbc.co.uk)