x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Girl, 3, and baby sister 'killed by pesticide' father says

Doctors suspect an intestinal infection may be to blame, but their father claims 'unlicensed pesticide' from their neighbour's home in Ajman killed them.

ABU DHABI // A grieving father believes his young daughters died because of a pesticide sprayed at a neighbour’s home.

The sisters, Hafsah, 3, and eight-month-old Souda, died on Thursday morning.

Doctors suspect they succumbed to intestinal infections but their father, Abdulrahman Habib Allah, from Bangladesh, blames a fumigation company hired by his neighbours in Ajman and has reported them to the police.

He claims the company sprayed “a pesticide that is unlicensed in the UAE”, reported Al Ittihad, the Arabic-language sister paper of The National, yesterday.

Mr Habib Allah, who lives in an industrial area of Ajman and has worked in the emirate as a tailor since 1993, said the pesticide company asked the neighbours to leave the apartment after fumigation but failed to warn other residents.

“The girls’ bedroom is right next to the bathroom from which the pesticide fumes entered, whereas our bedroom, their mother’s and mine, is a bit farther, which explains why we have not been poisoned,” Mr Habib Allah told Al Ittihad.

He is waiting for the final medical report then plans to sue the pesticide company.

After inhaling the fumes, the two girls lost consciousness and were taken to a private hospital, he said.

They were discharged the next day but relapsed and were admitted to Khalifa Hospital in Ajman.

The girls were pale and were admitted to the intensive-care unit, where they spent nearly a week, Mr Habib Allah said.

Hafsah died at about 7am on Thursday, and Souda three hours later. They were buried the same day.

A source at Khalifa Hospital said the girls showed signs that they might have inhaled poisonous fumes or suffered an intestinal inflammation.

The cause of their deaths is being investigated by a forensic laboratory, the source added.