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Sunday, January 23, 2022

Report: Another child in Qatar dies after falling into an open manhole


Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Pixabay

A six-year-old boy has died after falling into an uncovered manhole in Wukair over the weekend, Gulf Times reports.

The child, an Indian expat named Izan Ahmed Basheer, reportedly went missing after he and his parents ate at a restaurant in the area on Saturday.

According to the newspaper, the parents filed a police report and began canvassing the area along with friends and family.

Izan Ahmed Basheer. Credit: Mathrubhumi

But then Izan’s body was found early Sunday morning in an open manhole near the restaurant.

Spate of deaths

At least half a dozen children in Qatar have died after falling into uncovered manholes in the past seven years.

That includes a three-year-old Jordanian boy who in November 2012 fell into an 8m (26-foot) hole outside of an Al Sadd hotel.

And one month later, a three-year-old Omani girl was killed after falling into an open manhole near her home in Al Wakrah.

Fahim Sirajudeen

Municipal workers conducting a cleanup did not notice she had fallen in and secured the manhole cover before leaving for the night. She was found during a search of the area by neighbors.

And then in 2013, a five-year-old boy named Fahim was walking just ahead of his parents after leaving the now-closed fish market in Abu Hamour one evening when he disappeared into an open manhole.

Fahim was eventually rescued, but he suffered brain damage after being submerged in water and going without oxygen for several minutes. He died days later.

Put safety first

A government official was eventually sentenced to one year in jail for gross negligence after his death and for not ensuring the safety of manholes in the Central Market area.

Speaking after the verdict, the child’s father urged authorities to introduce stringent safety rules so that other families could avoid having to “share this sort of pain.”

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Marco Zanferrari/Flickr

Sirajudeen added that simple measures such as putting barriers around the open hole and lighting the area could have shown up the open hole, and saved his son’s life.

“After this happened, people told us we weren’t looking after our son properly. But he was right with us. The area was dark — there were no lights at the time. We couldn’t see the hole.

“What we have lost we can never get back. My wife cries every single day. There is nothing, nothing which can compensate for what has happened to us. I never want something like this to happen to another family. I never want to share this sort of pain with another family.”


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