Immigrant workers dismayed as fire in capital Manama destroys two buildings

A fire in Bahrain has ripped through a labour camp leaving over 200 construction workers homeless. The fire in the capital Manama destroyed two buildings yesterday in the city’s souk, which respectively housed 150 and 60 workers. No one appears to have been killed or injured as the fire happened when the workers were on site. All the workers are from Bangladesh and work for a variety of local contractors on an ad hoc basis.

Of the two buildings, the larger one was entirely razed. Gita Krishnan, a volunteer with migrant worker charity Helping Hands, said: “The buildings in the souk are so tightly packed that it was very difficult for the fire brigade to get to them, by the time they did, one building was destroyed.”

She added: “Many of these workers were planning to go home soon and they had all their money saved in cash in the building, as well as gifts for their families, so they are in a desperate state. It’s very sad.”

The workers in the labour camp were sleeping or 13 to 14 men to a room. Many slept on nearby pavements last night.