x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

‘His wife and children collapsed on hearing the news’: deadly UAE bus crash leaves shattered lives back in Bangladesh

Thirteen men were killed when a bus ploughed into the back of a lorry in Dubai on Saturday – the deadliest accident this year.

Mohammed Minto and Mohammed Salahuddin at their labour camp in Umm Al Quwain. Pawan Singh / The National
Mohammed Minto and Mohammed Salahuddin at their labour camp in Umm Al Quwain. Pawan Singh / The National

ABU DHABI // Relatives of the Dubai bus crash victims spoke on Wednesday of the shattered lives the men left behind.

Many were sole breadwinners, and the money they sent home was vital income for their poor families.

Alamgeer, 32, from Bangladesh, leaves a wife, two daughters and a sick mother. He earned about Dh1,200 a month.

“Alamgeer was the only person to feed his family, including his ailing 70-year-old mother. His father died a few years back,” said Mohammed Minto, Alamgeer’s cousin, who lives in Umm Al Quwain.

“His wife and children collapsed on hearing the news,” said Mr Minto, who has been asked by the family to help to repatriate the body.

The nine workers from India and four from Bangladesh were killed when their bus ploughed into the back of a lorry on Emirates Road on Saturday.

They were technicians, welders and fabricators travelling from their accommodation in Umm Al Quwain to their workplace in Jebel Ali.

Mr Minto lost another cousin in the crash, Masoom Dhali, 24.

“Dhali was also the only breadwinner in his family. Now I say, may Allah help his family.”

Dhali was unmarried and is survived by two younger brothers and two sisters.

“He was the only person to feed all members of the family and regularly sends money back home,” said Mr Minto.

Dhali, from the same Chandpur district in Chittagong as Alamgeer, earned about Dh1,300 a month.

“His mother is weeping day and night and not eating anything. She is asking to see her son’s body,” Mr Minto said.

“So far, we have not got the body of Dhali, as me and my friends went to several hospitals and police stations since Saturday. But nobody informed us about the whereabouts.”

Mohammed Ahmed, who has lived in the Sonapur labour camp in Dubai for the past six years, is the uncle of another crash victim, Nazrul Islam, 28 and also from Bangladesh.

“Islam’s mother is 65 and suffering from heart disease. Islam was collecting money to finance the treatment of his mother but fate decided something very unfortunate for him,” Mr Ahmed said.

Islam was the youngest of five brothers and promised his mother the treatment – he was about to return home soon to pay for the heart operation, Mr Ahmed said.

“His mother has been unconscious since she heard the news of her son’s death. When we call no answers come from her because still she can’t talk over the phone.”

Another Bangladeshi victim, Mohammed Badrul Hasan, 35, is survived by a wife and two sons aged 8 and 10 – one of whom was born mute.

His nephew, Salahuddin, lives in the same labour camp in Umm Al Quwain.

“Now who is going to take the burden of his family?” he asked.

“The big problem at home is that Hassan has a 10-year-old boy who was born mute and is still unable to talk after treatment,” he said.

“His wife is wailing at home,” said Mr Salahuddin, who also faces the challenge of helping to repatriate the body.

The Bangladeshi consulate says repatriation of the bodies should start over the weekend or early next week.

Nizanur Rahman, the first secretary of labour at the consulate, said the hospital and police were still conducting an examination.

“When we receive death certificates from the hospital and police clearance, we will start the repatriation process,” he said.

“We are in full coordination with the hospital and the police to speed up the procedure. We understand the families are back home awaiting the bodies.”

anwar@thenational.ae