UAE | Emergencies

Pesticide poisoning blamed for girls' deaths in Ajman

Female beautician dies and two women fall sick in similar incident of suspected inhalation of toxins

  • By Aghaddir Ali, Staff Report
  • Published: 22:00 June 14, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Courtsey: Family
  • Hafsa, Sawda

Ajman: At least three people, including two baby girls, died in two separate incidents of suspected pesticide poisoning in Ajman and Fujairah, Gulf News has learnt.

Two daughters of a Bangladeshi family have died in Ajman and the cause of death is suspected to be inhalation of fumes from pesticides that were sprayed in a neighbour’s apartment.

In another incident, a 35-year-old Filipina died and her two female colleagues fell sick after reportedly inhaling pesticide fumes in their neighbour’s house in Fujairah.

In Ajman, the children’s father, Habib Allah, told  Gulf News that his two daughters fell sick and were taken to a hospital for treatment after reportedly inhaling pesticide fumes.
Habib Allah said that he noticed a strong odour coming from the apartment adjacent to his in the building in the new industrial  area in Ajman, but did not know that it was pesticide.

His two daughters, 3-year-old Hafsa and 8-month-old  Sawda, fell extremely ill and turned pale.  The family took their daughters to a hospital where they were given medication. The girls were discharged from the hospital after treatment.

Investigations

On the second day, the two girls fell sick again and were taken to the intensive care unit at Khalifa Hospital in Ajman as their condition worsened.

Hafsa breathed her last in the hospital at around 7pm and Sawda died three hours later.  Habib Allah said that he came to know later that his neighbour had sprayed his apartment with pesticides.

The neighbour was not present in his apartment because the pesticide company had asked him to stay away for at least two days.  However, the tenant failed to inform his neighbours.  Police have taken the neighbour into custody and have sealed the flat pending investigations.

Habib Allah, a tailor by profession, has been living in the UAE since 1994.  Ajman Police are investigating the incident. Blood samples have been taken from all family members and autopsies on the girls’ bodies have also been done to determine the cause of death. Samples of the pesticide are also being examined.

According to the police, the incident happened on June 1. However, the police revealed details after the girls were buried on June 13 after completing the forensic examinations.

In the Fujairah incident, a 35-year-old Filipina who worked at a beauty salon died and two other female workers fell sick after inhaling pesticide fumes emanating from a neighbour’s apartment, an official at Fujairah police told Gulf News on Friday. The incident took place on Wednesday.

The condition of the two sick Ethiopian female workers who are being treated at Fujairah hospital is reported to be serious. The three women shared the same accommodation.

Strong odour

Investigations revealed that the neighbour’s  apartment was sprayed with pesticides and its residents were advised to leave for 48 hours due to the strong fumes.

Fujairah police launched an investigation over the incident while samples of the pesticide have been taken for forensic laboratory test.

Police said that legal action will be taken against the firm if it is proven that they were flouting the law, using banned chemicals that affect human health.

Ajman municipality has also warned residents against using pesticides made with banned materials.

Comments (14)

  1. Added 09:56 June 16, 2013

    Please hold pesticide company responsible for these murders as they were knowing the deadly & banned substance they are using which is harmful to human. Even the customer is equally responsible and should be penalized for not informing to his neighbours if he knew about this possible lethal reaction of the chemical. Their negligence took the innocent lives.

    Mobi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 09:07 June 16, 2013

    Our neighbour sprayed pesticides and left the flat for a week without informing any of us. The smell was so strong and the child in the opposite flat suffering from asthma was admitted in the hospital due to breathing problems. Even we have a 1 year old toddler at home. I wish muncipality takes strict action against these pesticide companies.

    Ms. George, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 15:43 June 15, 2013

    AUTHORITY SHOULD TAKE STRICT ACTION AGAINST THESE PEST CONTROL COMPANIES & SHOULD CANCEL THE PERMIT ON THE SPOT............THESE COMPANIES ARE NOT WORRIED ABOUT ANY ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONS TO BE TAKEN BEFORE THEY DO START & THEY ARE MIXING TOo STRONG TO KILL THE COCKROACHES & BEDBUGG IMMEDIATELY.....................BUT NOT WORRIED ABOUT ANY OTHER............. my self i never allow any pest control co in my flat to do by building maintenance OR private co ...........pls keep the area neat & clean always & dispose unwanted stuff immediately which is not of use.

    RUPESH, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 14:31 June 15, 2013

    Taking custody of the tenant or the neighbours will not remedy the problems or get back the childrens life. If any pesticides using in any apartment then they should get approval signature from the neighbours of that floor. Its very very sad to lose two kids and it will not forget entire their life. May ALLAH give strength to their parents and beloveds.

    Ahmed Saleem, Deira, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 14:21 June 15, 2013

    These Pest Control Services should have a licence/approval/authorization from Municipality strictly and should have to pass approval from the buliding reception's approval too. They should definitely be 100% responsible for causing harm to innocant uaware victims. Municipality should spread awareness on pesticides. Not every body reads newspapers unfortunately.

    mags, dubai, United Kingdom

  6. Added 13:32 June 15, 2013

    Bed Bugs are the big problem in accommodations that's why people spray prohibited pesticides also- In India we have very rare because of open houses- here flats are closed and 24/7 there is electricity and AC is also on- A lot of flats don't have balcony to spread the clothes out side and even its not permitted also to hang the clothes out side - So I would like to conclude the pesticide is not the problem, main problem is bed bugs and closed accommodations.

    Anis Ahmad Fatehpuri, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 13:23 June 15, 2013

    Lets all be human and inform the neighbours if you do pest control or any other activity that makes strong smells! There are also lots of kids who are asthmatic and will react to any strong smells and start suffocating! Only if we all respect each other and care for the others kids can we be sure to have our won kids safe! Prayers are with the family who has lost their most precious little ones!

    irina, sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:51 June 15, 2013

    If need be, the illegal ones need to be banned! How many more cases of unfortunate circumstances do we need to read about revolving around pesticides before some proper action is taken?? Secondly, I really would like Gulf News to share some tips and if possible share comments from the survivors/witnesses regarding what kind of odour to expect. Recently, in my airport road apartment we got extremely strong odours of nail polish remover - we investigated every nook and corner of our apartment and floor corridors. Called the watchman to investigate - he couldnt identify the source. We asked our neighbors - but they couldnt smell anything. But ofcourse there was one neighbor who wasnt at home and when the watchman called them - they said they had used pesticide a week or 2 back. We have a strong feeling they were lying and were perhaps out of their home due to the pesticide itself! What is the best thing to do in such cases? The nail polish remover smell was so strong, our eyes were starting to water and it was getting difficult to breathe. Were we supposed to stay out of the home that night? Were we supposed to call the police or the municipality? Totally ignorant on what we should have done - kindly do share some feedback and tips.

    Nadira, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 12:21 June 15, 2013

    The authorities should take strict measures and ban all these private companies i would say rather individuals who are doing this job as a part time without any experience and professionalism. We have notice every other day pamphlets of advertisement of such pest controls on our door steps.The people who are doing this are buying cheap and dangerous chemicals and spraying without knowing it's consequences. Allah give the family the strength to cope such a big loss.

    qasim, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 10:54 June 15, 2013

    I think the Pesticide company should get a Municipality Approval before administering these toxins. The company should be liable for the death of innocent people and the neighbor for not taking necessary precautions and informing the building management or neighbors.

    Sami Hajjaj, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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