Indian data nail foreign media death claims

February 20, 2014 - 4:38:15 am

DOHA: The Indian embassy here said yesterday that international media reports about deaths of Indians in Qatar were distorted and most of the deaths had occurred due to natural causes.

Data released by the Indian embassy yesterday show that the number of Indians dying in Qatar has varied only marginally over the past four years (since 2010), suggesting that most of the deaths were normal.

“Considering the large size of our community, the number of deaths is quite normal,” the embassy said in a statement yesterday.

In 2010, 233 Indians died in Qatar, and the number rose to 241 in 2013, which can be explained by a growth in population. There was a decline in deaths in 2012 (237) compared to 2011 (239).

“Most of the deaths are by natural causes. It is, therefore, inappropriate to use these figures in a distorted manner,” said the mission, without giving details about the causes.

Citing data released by the Indian embassy, a section of the international media on Tuesday drew attention to the “alarmingly high” number of Indians dying in Qatar, directly or indirectly linking the deaths to allegedly unsafe working conditions at construction sites.

The reports were the latest in a series of stories and articles that have appeared in the international media over the past few months raising concerns over the safety of expatriate workers in the country.

“The Government of Qatar continues to take several measures to further improve the living and working conditions of workers, and for further strengthening administrative, legal and other mechanisms to safeguard workers’ interests. We appreciate these measures being taken by Qatari authorities,” added the statement.

Community circles and health experts attribute the increase in deaths among Indians to the high prevalence of lifestyle diseases, especially heart attacks, which are on the rise not only in the Gulf but also in India.

Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) reported 1,600 heart attacks in Qatar in 2013 that were attributed to the increasing prevalence of lifestyle diseases in the country. Heart attacks at an early age are more common among Indians, HMC has said.

THE PENINSULA

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