Let's congratulate Speed (and you!)
The Gulf Times ran this report today : Aid pledges pour in after camp blaze By Ramesh Mathew
THE chairman of a fire-ravaged labour camp has cut short a business trip abroad and offered immediate financial assistance to workers who saw their belongings go up in smoke.
The boss was in Europe when the site in Ain Khalid went up in flames – leaving many labourers possessing only the clothes on their backs.
When he learned of the tragedy, the chairman immediately cancelled the rest of his plans to fly back to Qatar.
Expressing his deep sympathy, a spokesman for the HBK Group of Companies told Gulf Times that the company would give each worker QR150 to tide them over for the next few days – with promises of more to come.
He revealed: “The company has already agreed to provide more assistance to workers in the coming days, possibly after the arrival of the chairman. The company has also provided alternative accommodation and food to the affected workers and we are in the process of investigating whether they require any clothes.”
The fire broke out around lunchtime on Sunday, quickly engulfing the camp in a wall of flame that destroyed a large number of temporary homes.
With the workers away from the site, there were no casualties reported but many of them lost their belongings, including money. One man claimed to have lost QR2,600 in the inferno. However, contrary to earlier reports, no vehicles were damaged in the fire.
After Gulf Times highlighted the plight of the 600 workers it triggered a rapid and heartfelt response from Doha residents with one community website being among the first to organise aid donations.
Posting a plea on Qatar Living, the samaritan named ‘Speed’ urged other members to gather blankets, sheets, mattresses, clothes, shoes and food items. His call was immediately answered with pledges of help.
Meanwhile, a team of officials from the Indian embassy visited the site yesterday to see what they could do to assist.
Of the 600 workers living at the camp, most were discovered to be Nepalese with less than a 100 being Indian nationals. According to embassy officials, no one reported the loss of a passport.
The Indian Community Benevolent Fund (ICBF) also visited the scene of the fire, with its new chairman Dr Mohan Thomas pledging help if needed.
However, Nepalese Ambassador Dr Sumit Mishra said he had been unaware of the blaze until yesterday evening.
“Two officials of our embassy visited the site in the evening and spoke to some of the workers,” said the envoy. He assured the Nepalese workers of his embassy’s support.
He added: “No one from the camp has sought the mission’s help following the fire.”
The HBK spokesman added that the company was hoping to rebuild the camp as soon as official permission has been granted.
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