Middle East

UAE: Father Dies Trying to Start Barbecue in Kitchen with Petrol


Father dies trying to start barbecue in kitchen with petrol

DUBAI - MAR 14: An Indian man died and his two-year-old son was severely burned after an attempt to start a barbecue with petrol resulted in a fire inside their home, relatives of the family said yesterday.

Shiraz Abdul Rahman, 37, died from his burns yesterday after being airlifted to Rashid Hospital with his son, Hanis.

The boy was still fighting for his life after being transferred to Al Wasl Hospital. Relatives said he is suffering from burns covering 35 per cent of his body.

Mr Rahman was said to have burns covering more than 90 per cent of his body.

A spokesman for Dubai Civil Defence confirmed the incident but provided no further details.

Mr Rahman was employed as a chief of operations at a medical company. He lived in Al Qusais with his wife, Simi, his son and an older daughter.

According to a relative, the incident occurred on Friday when the family was trying to start a barbecue grill in the kitchen of their third-floor home. The relative told The National that it was Mr Rahman’s first attempt to do a barbecue inside the house.

With the help of an employee from Mr Rahman’s office, they started the barbecue in the kitchen. However, they used petrol to ignite the fire, according to Yahiya Malikkal, a relative of Mr Rahman who was speaking for the family at their home yesterday.

“It got out of control and the carriage caught fire,” Mr Malikkal said.

The carriage fell on Mr Rahman and the fire was accelerated by the petrol, which was kept next to the carriage, Mr Malikkal said.

Hanis, who was standing beside his father, also caught fire.

“Simi pulled Hanis aside and quickly doused the fire. Shiraz was fully on fire and there was nothing that could be done,” Mr Malikkal said.

Anti-laundry patrols clean up Al Ain

AL AIN - MAR - 14: A metre away from Hamam Alawi, an irate man is brandishing a large knife.

Mr Alawi holds his ground, even as the man moves in, shouting and waving the weapon. Mr Alawi is not intimidated, because he has the law on his side. He is the laundry inspector.

This is not the first time that Mr Alawi, a 31-year-old Syrian health inspector with Al Ain Municipality, who was born and raised in the city, has visited the house.

Last week, he warned the occupants – one of whom is now wielding the blade – that hanging out their laundry to dry in public view was unsightly and illegal.

This time there is no warning. The clothesline is to be cut down and the man with the knife is to be referred to the Municipality Prosecutor’s Office for hanging out his laundry.

Despite the armed man’s protestations, the health inspector is insistent. The man will be fined. He should be pleased, says Mr Alawi, that his clothes were not confiscated. The man turns away from the inspector, and uses the knife to cut down the offending clothesline.

“This is unfair,” he said. “I was never warned about this before and didn’t know. Give me a warning at least this time.”

In the front of the house, litter is strewn across broken furniture and there is a disassembled bed. A chicken and a rooster strut amid hundreds of cigarette butts.

“I had warned the occupants of this house about the mess and about the laundry twice in the past two months, but my warnings were ignored,” Mr Alawi says.

“I don’t feel bad about issuing the citation, especially when he and I know that he’s lying.”

Mr Alawi takes the man’s identity card and orders him to collect it from the Municipality Prosecutor’s Office, where a court date will be set for him to explain his slovenliness to a municipal judge. If he is found guilty, he will be fined.

Mr Alawi tells him: “We are doing this to make the area more beautiful for you.”

The municipality’s five-day campaign to keep residents from hanging their laundry in public in the central district came to a temporary halt on Thursday. Forty-seven people have been referred for prosecution.

“For three months, my inspectors have been going door-to-door, distributing brochures to residents and posting signs in residential buildings advising residents to not hang out their laundry where everybody can see it,” says Salem Khalfan al Kaabi, the manager of the public health department. “It was now time to act.”

Mr al Kaabi has dedicated 15 inspectors – 10 per cent of his staff – to the laundry patrol, in what he called an “aggressive campaign”.

Determined to eradicate the scourge of unsightly laundry being displayed in public, he has plans to require those seeking building permits to incorporate a laundry facility into their designs before a permit is issued.

“The most common thing we hear from violators of the laundry law is that they don’t have anywhere to hang their clothes other than outside in the sun,” he says.

“If each building was to have a dryer, that would help solve the problem.”

That is the reason Sharaf Aziz, 35, a driver from Afghanistan, gives when he finds Mr Alawi at his door, demanding that all the male occupants step out of the house with their identification.

Through the open door, a number of bunk beds can be seen inside, surrounding a small cooker in a room shared by six Afghan men.

“Look inside, there is nowhere we can put the clothes to dry,” says Mr Aziz. “What can we do?”

Mr Alawi suggests that they dry their clothes on the roof and make sure the clothesline is out of sight. As the men take their washing inside, Mr Alawi issues Mr Aziz with a written warning. Here, too, the offending line is cut down, and mounts broken.

At another house, a Filipina is standing outside with laundry in her hands that she is about to hang. She sees Mr Alawi approaching with his municipality badge in plain view, and scuttles back inside.

Mr Alawi decides not to knock, but is clear that it would be within his rights. “We, as inspectors, can only knock on the door and order people to come out,” he says.

“If we hear someone inside and they refuse to open the door we cannot enter unless we have a warrant – which we can get in cases like this.

“What we can also do is come back later, or right there and then cut down the clothesline and confiscate the clothes.”

With that he moves on, looking out for the next laundry offender.


Diabetes affecting one in four Emiratis, health screenings show

ABU DHABI- MAR 14: Nearly a third of Emiratis in Abu Dhabi are overweight and nearly one in four shows evidence of having diabetes, health screening figures show.

More than a third of the overweight are clinically obese, according to new data., while more than one in six of UAE nationals were also found to have high blood pressure and almost a quarter of men admitted to smoking.

Health officials said the figures, gathered during screenings required for Emiratis aged between 18 and 75 to receive a card for free health care, were unexpectedly high.

The preliminary findings, disclosed yesterday at the 1st International Abu Dhabi Diabetes Congress, highlight the threat of a surge in the number of diabetics in the UAE, which already has the second-highest rates of diabetes in the world.

Dr Khaled al Jaberi, chief of endocrinology at Mafraq Hospital, said: '“It shows we really have a huge problem within UAE with diabetes and the pre-diabetes stage. It will really need to be managed in a more aggressive manner.”

The results back up previous studies, which found one in five Emiratis has diabetes. By 2025, diabetes is expected to affect a quarter of the population.

Zaid Al Siksek, the CEO for Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, speaking at the Abu Dhabi Diabetes Congress, said: “Whether it be a financial burden, reduced quality of life, disability in our young population, loss of productivity in our workforce and raising mortality from cardiovascular or renal disease.”

The UAE has the second-highest rate of Type 2 diabetes in the world behind Nauru, a tiny island nation in the South Pacific.

Sedentary jobs and tasks are putting more people at risk of diabetes, experts say since obesity is a leading factor in type 2 diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.

While genetics may play a role in whether a person develops the disease, lifestyle factors, such as diet, can determine whether a person develops the disease.

Authorities in Abu Dhabi expect a new screening programme for UAE nationals will see more people benefitting from early intervention.

Preliminary data gathered through the Weqaya programme, which includes screens height, weight, blood pressure and glucose and cholesterol checks for emiratis aged 18 to 75, revealed that 34 per cent of Emirati adults are overweight. Of those, 36 per cent are obese. Meanwhile, 17 per cent have high blood pressure and 23 per cent admit to smoking.

The new figures were revealed days after the head of the Emirates Diabetes Society, Dr Abdulrazzaq Ali al Madani, said early detection was urgently needed to stem the rise of diabetes rates.

Dr al Jaberi said “The size of the problem shows that whatever we do is not enough. Education, I think is needed because people don’t go for check ups.

“Diabetes will start in a very slow way so people will not have the clear symptoms and studies show that at that time people are still at risk of complications so by the time they get the diagnosis they are already at risk.”

While the number of people found at risk of diabetes through the screenings were higher than expected, according to a HAAD official, the new system means that people identified as at risk of getting diabetes are contacted directly. Health care providers are prepared to provide care to those who need it, said Omniyat al Hajeri, manager of health professionals licensing and health regulation at HAAD.

“Because the numbers were even higher than what were expected we have private sector providers that are now involved with the Weqaya programme, especially in the field of diabetes,” Ms al Hajeri said. “Anyone who needs direct intervention receives a phone call asking them to communicate with healthcare providers.”

The treatment of people with diabetes could cost the UAE in excess of Dh440 million (US$120m) a year, A researcher at UAE University predicts. A study in the United States estimated that the disease costs that nation US$174 billion ayear. 

Other countries in the Middle East and North Africa are facing challenges similar to the UAE, the conference heard.

About 26 million people have diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa region, a figure expected to rise to more than 51 million by 2030.

On Tuesday, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City will host a public lecture on obesity. People attending will have the chance to have questions answered after a presentation, intended to raise awareness about the danger of obesity.

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