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Over 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar as it readies for World Cup

By Caoimhe Toman

Date: Tuesday 23 Feb 2021

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - More than 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died in Qatar in the last 10 years since the country won the right to host the World Cup, reported the Guardian on Tuesday.

According to the report from the newspaper an average of 12 migrant workers have died each week since the night in December 2010 and it is likely that they have perished while working on infrastructure projects made for the football World Cup tournament.

According to Nick McGeehan, the director of FairSquare Projects who spoke to the Guardian, "a very significant proportion of the migrant workers who have died since 2011 were only in Qatar because it won the right to host the World Cup."

Among the causes of death recorded in spreadsheets of official data, the most common is "natural deaths" which is attributed to acute heart or respiratory failure.

Based on the data obtained by the Guardian, 69% of deaths among Indian, Nepali and Bangladeshi workers are "natural". Among Indians alone, the figure is 80%.

There were 5,927 deaths among migrant workers in the period 2011-2020 but separately, data from Pakistan's embassy in Qatar reported a further 824 deaths of Pakistani workers in the same period.

The total death toll is likely to be significantly higher as deaths of migrants from other countries which send large numbers of workers to Qatar aren't included in the stats. Also, the stats have not reported the deaths for the final months of 2020, said the Guardian.

Over the past decade, Qatar has experienced an unprecedented building programme to prepare for the international tournament. Building projects not only include stadiums but also airports, roads, public transport systems, hotels and a new city.

The findings expose Qatar's failure to protect its 2 million-strong migrant workforce and the lack of investigation into the causes of the apparently high rate of death among the largely young workers.

The committee organising the World Cup in Qatar, when asked about the deaths on stadium projects, said: "We deeply regret all of these tragedies and investigated each incident to ensure lessons were learned. We have always maintained transparency around this issue and dispute inaccurate claims around the number of workers who have died on our projects."