x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Al Ain bus crash families thank UAE for payout

Families of the Bangladeshi workers who died in the bus crash last week have expressed gratitude after news that the UAE will give them a year's salary in compensation.

At right, a picture of Mohammed Bohran Uddin, one of the men who died last week in the bus crash, hangs on the wall of his parents' home in Anwara, south-east of Chittagong. Silvia Razgova / The National
At right, a picture of Mohammed Bohran Uddin, one of the men who died last week in the bus crash, hangs on the wall of his parents' home in Anwara, south-east of Chittagong. Silvia Razgova / The National

CHITTAGONG, BANGladesh // Families of workers who died in the Al Ain bus crash last week have expressed gratitude after news that the UAE will give them a year's salary in compensation.

"The UAE Government has given us hope," said Mohammed Idris Mian, who lost two sons. "They have given us hope in our hearts to live."

The news was announced on Tuesday by Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, under secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The UAE has also paid for repatriation of bodies.

Among the recipients will be the family of Mohammed Jahangir Alam, who lost his brother Mohammed Bohran Uddin in the crash between the bus carrying him to work and a lorry.

Mr Alam earns about Dh250 a month as a bank clerk in Bangladesh and would have struggled to feed himself and his parents.

"I am relieved to hear this news," he said. "My parents want to thank everyone who thought of us in our hard times."

Sultana Aktar, widow of Mohammed Ala Uddin, said the payout would allow her to continue to live a life of dignity.

"The family is in my hands now," she said. "I will be able to look after them in the way my husband did."

Ala Uddin left two sons - Tamim Iqbal, 6 and Tasmin Iqbal, nine months. Tasmin was born while he was away.

Jainal Abedin, Mr Uddin's brother, was relieved that Tamim would be able to continue his education.

"The family will be able to eat and live without worry," Mr Abedin said. "A burden has lifted from our shoulders."

Nur Ahmed, the ailing grandfather of Mohammed Arif Uddin, 22, said: "What can we offer in return for this generosity? We offer our prayers of thanks."

In a statement to the state news agency Wam, Sheikh Abdullah said the compensation would "mitigate the loss of their providers while judicial authorities will determine the financial compensation which is legally due to the dead".

"[The Ministry of Foreign Affairs] followed up the sad traffic accident which took place on February 4 in Al Ain City and involved workers from Arab and Asian countries, leaving 21 dead and 24 others injured."

He expressed heartfelt sympathy with the families of the dead and prayed to Allah to bestow mercy on them and patience on their families.

The move follows a visit last week by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Minister of Interior and Deputy Prime Minister, to Tawam Hospital's intensive-care unit to check on the survivors of the crash.

Sheikh Saif had highlighted the leadership's keenness to protect the safety of all UAE citizens, residents and visitors, and to provide them with the best quality of care.

sbhattacharya@thenational.ae