x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Families of Al Ain bus-crash victims still waiting for payout four months later

The UAE courts and Government offered a year's salary in compensation to the victims' families back home, but that money has yet to be released.

ABU DHABI // Families of the 21 men killed in a horrific bus crash in Al Ain have still not received any compensation, four months after the accident.

They are awaiting money from the UAE courts and the Government, which in February said it would offer a year's salary in compensation.

A case filed to the court by the Al Ain Police is continuing.

The Bangladesh embassy held a fund-raiser for the families, but donations were meagre with only outsiders contributing. Nothing was received from the Bangladeshi community in the UAE.

The February 4 accident on the Al Ain-Abu Dhabi truck road killed 19 Bangladeshis, an Indian and an Egyptian, who were travelling from their housing to their workplace.

They suffocated when a lorry overturned, crushing the bus that was carrying 48 men and pouring its load of building materials on to those trapped inside.

Recently, the Al Ain Court of First Instance issued a verdict in favour of the victims' families, holding the bus driver responsible for the accident and ordering the workers' company to pay compensation, said Latiful Haq Kazmi, labour counsellor of the Bangladeshi embassy in Abu Dhabi. The case was filed by the police, Mr Kazmi said.

The company, Al Hakeem Decoration, has appealed against the judgment.

The embassy has been awaiting documents from the ministry of expatriates' welfare and overseas employment of Bangladesh, which collected the relatives' details to help them file a case in the UAE.

"As soon as we are going to collect the papers from our ministry we will file the case here," Mr Kazmi said.

"I heard that only a few persons' details are left to be compiled then they will send all. Collecting details and verifying things in some cases takes time."

The mission has asked authorities to speed up the process, Mr Kazmi said.

Of the embassy's fund-raiser, the mission's counsellor Mohammed Shahadat Husain said: "Only Dh27,000 was donated for these victims so far, but not by the community members."

A Pakistani national has given Dh25,000 and Dh2,000 was donated by an Asian.

"But nothing came from the community people in the UAE and I am saddened and highly surprised," Mr Husain said.