UAE | Emergencies

Maid still fighting for her life after gas leak blast

Facebook group set up for Ethiopian woman with third degree burns to 81% of her body

  • By Janice Ponce de Leon Staff Reporter
  • Published: 15:29 July 25, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Courtesy: Masood Salem
  • The Ethiopian woman who is suffering from 81 per cent burns on her body after a kitchen explosion. She is currently at the ICU of Rashid Hospital. Right: A recent picture of Azeb. Azeb’s hospital bill for her first week has reached Dh51,000 and continues to mount.

Dubai: An Ethopian maid has defied doctors’ prognostications and survived a horrific explosion caused by a gas leak.

Medics at Rashid Hospital gave burn victim Azeb Abebe just 24 hours to live after she suffered agonising injuries when the blast tore through her employer’s home.

But the 24-year-old has clung to life despite sustaining third degree burns to 81 per cent of her body.

Now her employer, Masood Salem, has launched a Facebook page to encourage others to donate to Azeb’s spiralling medical bills.

Salem, an IT sales executive and Azeb’s employer, told Gulf News: “She was burning from head to toe. Her clothes were on fire and she was trying to get them off.

“Initially, doctors said that she would not survive more than 24 hours due to the extent of her injuries. But the fact that she has managed to pull through for nine days now is a victory. Maybe God has other plans for her.”

The blast happened in the kitchen of Azeb’s employer’s villa on July 15.

Azeb was busy preparing breakfast when the gas blast occurred shortly after 6.20am.

Flames engulfed her whole body, burning her face, chest, back, and legs.

Salem was woken by the explosion, ran to the kitchen and found Azeb on fire.

He put a blanket around her to put the fire out and then called 999.

Paramedics arrived 5 minutes later.

She has been in a critical condition at the intensive care unit (ICU) of Rashid hospital ever since and her whole body is bandaged.

Azeb is unconscious as doctors have kept her sedated to allow her body to heal and to manage the terrible pain she would otherwise experience. Initial police findings have confirmed the explosion was due to a gas leak from the pipe connecting the oven to the gas cylinder.

Azeb has been with the Salem family for nine months. She has a four-year-old son in Ethiopia and is the sole breadwinner of the family. Her mother is handicapped and her father has recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness and given six months to live.

The Salem family are taking responsibility for Azeb’s medical expenses.

Salem said he has started liquidating his term deposits and selling off some personal jewellery. They have also put some property in India up for sale so they can pay future bills. But Salem said their resources could only cover so much.

Azeb’s hospital bill for her first week has reached Dh51,000 and continues to pile up by the day. A day in the ICU costs Dh3,100 and her recovery time is projected to be two to three months.

She has to undergo several surgeries as well.

Salem put up a Facebook page called Donate4Azeb to seek help for his maid.

“I would like to appeal to people to come forward and help us save the life of a very good woman. We were very happy with her. She was extremely good at her job, she was good with the children. It is extremely tragic that an innocent woman has to undergo so much pain and is fighting for her life,” Salem said.

The Ethiopian community, meanwhile, expressed grief over the incident. Suad Hussain, vice chairman of the Ethiopian Community executive board, told Gulf News: “This news is very sad for the community. We are going to visit her as soon as possible and we’ll do whatever is necessary to help her.”

Gulf News
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