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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Guest post: Why does Qatar have so many fires? It’s not the evil eye


Reports of fires across Qatar – and rumors as to what’s going on – have been proliferating in the weeks after the Villaggio blaze that killed 19 people.

Engineer Mona Aljaber is one of many residents who wondered at the cause – until she took a field trip with her company to observe safety day at Al-Ghariya Resorts, which is currently undergoing renovations.

Why do so many fires take place in Qatar? Here’s one national’s aha! moment. 

On our way to Ruwais this morning we were discussing all the fire incidents that have happened in Doha lately: the tragic fire in Villaggio shopping mall, the minor fires in the girl’s school and the aviation college, the fire in Souq Waqif, and the very recent fire at the Pearl and a few other places.

My colleagues had different analyses on what’s behind all those accidents, and I do emphasize they are accidents!

A lot of people argue from a cultural perspective, my country is doing so well this must be the “evil eye,” a concept I honestly don’t believe in, but was willing to make an exception this time as it was only logical to explain all the misfortunes that are coming at us one after the other.

If you don’t know what the evil eye is, it’s a look that is believed by many cultures to be able to cause injury or bad luck for towards you for reasons of envy or dislike.

We finish inspecting our operations up next to Al-Ghariya resort, and we then decide to have a safety activity given it was safety day!

‘Death trap’

We decide to do an exercise where we go around the construction site close to our operations and identify potential hazards, and that was an aha-moment for me!

Take a look around, and the place is basically a death trap. The numerous hazardous I could identify, most were electricity hazardous, surprisingly!

It all made sense now, all the fires, the misfortunes, it’s not the “evil eye” but a different kind of eye. An eye that does not see what recklessness it is that those construction sites, shopping malls or many other places are operating in.

The eye that refuses to see that my country is doing so well yet it seems to be missing out on a very important chunk of development for its foundation, safety!

So who’s to blame for all the fires? The answer is plain and simple; we all are.

Safety first

In conclusion, my country needs to go a long way in terms of safety, developing a safety culture so that whatever major projects we take on, from building a nursery to building a top nudge soccer stadium, we must always have people’s safety as a priority!

I’m not writing this to critisize or just make noise, this is one construction site I happened to be at and I can only imgain what I could come across if I were to have taken a further look around.

I wanted to shed light o this recklessness that these construction companies are operating in, that cause the loss of lives, loss of time, money and many things.


Why cant we regulate how they operate and put safety at much higher measures for us as a very fast growing country. As Qatari citizen, I couldn’t help but report this, as we all should from now on.

Keep an open eye, see what doesn’t look right, and I grant you immunity from what we call the “evil eye”.

Let’s not take our safety for granted any more…

Credit: Photos by Mona Aljaber

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