x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Trouble at labour camp was result of mass hysteria, officials claim

Unrest sparked at a camp in Al Ruwais over rumours of food poisoning, which hospital officials say were false.

AL RUWAIS // Residents of a labour camp who went to hospital complaining of food poisoning were in fact suffering from mass hysteria, food-safety officials said yesterday.

Workers at the Al Ruwais camp grew agitated on Friday night amid rumours that a colleague who died from cardiac arrest had eaten contaminated food.

More than a dozen admitted themselves to Adnoc Hospital, believing they were ill.

"It's not a food-poisoning case," said Mohammed Jala Al Reya, head of communications for the food control authority, ADFCA.

A Bangladeshi man was declared dead on arrival at the hospital on Thursday night. Doctors again ruled out food poisoning.

Rumours spread that the man died from food poisoning. Angry workers gathered on Friday and began throwing stones at the Fathima grocery,  owned by the same company that catered for the labour camp.

Claims of food poisoning are "absolute nonsense", said Mohammed Reyas, human resources director for the Fathima Group, which owns the grocery and attached catering company that feeds more than 8,000 men at the site. There were no reports of injuries as a result of the violence. Fathima Group have yet to assess any damage.

"We have not had an opportunity to get inside the camp as yet," said Mr Reyas.



* This article has been amended since it was first published.