The son of a World Cup stadium construction worker who died in Qatar has said his father warned of poor working conditions caused by excessive heat before his death in 2018.
Abdus Salam details how his father, Mosharraf Hossen, “suffered to survive” during an interview with Jeremy Schaap, journalist for ESPNas part of the E60 documentary “The World Cup in Qatar” (available to stream via ESPN+), which details the plight of migrant workers in the build-up to football’s biggest tournament.
“He thought about his family’s happiness and future and went there hoping to get a better income,” Salam said of his father, who moved from Bangladesh to Qatar in 2014 looking for a job. “After he got the job (at the stadium), he said, ‘I’m not being paid properly. I fight to survive. “”
The summer heat in Qatar can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit (48.8 degrees Celsius). On August 8, 2018, the day after the temperature reached 115 degrees, Hossen died.
“All he said was that there was too much suffering in Qatar, too much heat. He couldn’t stand the heat,” said Surma Begum, Hossen’s daughter. “He suffered a lot. It was hard work, but he never let us feel the pain.”
Hossen’s death certificate states that he died of a heart attack and kidney failure. His family received the equivalent of $686 in compensation from the employer, but nothing from the Qatari government.
“The cause that was reported was a heart attack or stroke, but we don’t think so,” Salam said. “They don’t want to tell us more about how he died.”
Low-income migrant workers and other foreigners make up the majority of the country’s population of 2.9 million, including about 380,000 Qatari citizens. Since winning the right to host the World Cup tournament more than a decade ago, Qatar has come under scrutiny for how it treats some of these workers and other human rights issues.
According to the Qatari government, there have been 15,000 deaths of foreigners in the country since 2010, but only 39 of them were work-related. None of these deaths were due to heat. However, independent reports indicate that the death toll among migrant workers could be as high as 6,500.
The cost of hosting the tournament, which begins Nov. 18 and ends Dec. 20, is reportedly $220 billion.
Qatari Deputy Undersecretary of Labor Mohammed al-Obaidly said there have been instances where compensation and payments have been made for work-related deaths or accidents. The country also implemented new labor laws, created a $150 million fund to resolve wage disputes, and raised the monthly minimum wage to $275.
“We see this as the appropriate minimum to live in Qatar,” Al-Obaidly said. ESPN.
Al-Obaidly added that the country will not accept “destructive criticism” from outside groups over its working conditions.
“The World Cup will end (in December), but our laws are ongoing and developing and we are not applying them for the World Cup.”
When asked what she wants from the Qatari government regarding her father’s death, Begum replied, “Take care of us, support us.
“We don’t have anyone else, we only had my father. We feel a lot of pain because our father died in this stadium.”