Tej Narayan Tharu’s household cremated him by the banks of the Budhu river in southeast Nepal. His spouse, Renuka Chaudhary, wailed in despair. She circled the purple coffin earlier than tossing sugar, mustard seeds and barley on to the pyre to purify it. Because the flames engulfed her husband’s physique, she collapsed and was carried away.
Chaudhary and the couple’s four-year-old daughter, Sadikshya, spoke to her husband by cellphone each two or three days, till the day they acquired a name from Qatar from a quantity she didn’t recognise. Tharu, 23, died in August when he fell from a excessive walkway on the £512m al-Wakrah stadium, being constructed for the 2022 World Cup.
“A pal of his known as and instructed us he had fallen down. We solely discovered that he had really died after plenty of calls and digging,” Chaudhary instructed the Guardian.
In a blur of grief, Chaudhary took two extra calls from Qatar, one from Manar Normal Contracting, the corporate that employed her husband, and one from the supreme committee for supply and legacy, the physique organising the World Cup. “The person from the supreme committee mentioned sorry. I requested him how my husband died. He mentioned they had been investigating the loss of life,” she mentioned. Three months later, Chaudhary continues to be ready for a solution.
The Guardian has spoken to 4 individuals with direct information of the incident. The sources say Tharu was carrying a big board alongside a 35 metre-high walkway at night time, when the accident occurred.
“He fell off from the walkway … It’s normally thought-about secure. However individuals from one other firm had eliminated a [floor] plate, creating a spot. He didn’t see it and fell via it,” mentioned one supply.
One other mentioned: “One of many blocks becoming a member of the passage was taken with out informing staff … creating a spot … Since Tharu was carrying a [board], he couldn’t see it and fell from there.”
A spokesperson for the supreme committee mentioned classes have been discovered from the loss of life and “corrective measures had been carried out throughout the al-Wakrah website and different supreme committee websites to keep away from a repeat”.
A supply with information of the stadium mentioned new staff are given coaching and time to acclimatise earlier than beginning work, however he additionally described an surroundings the place battle and miscommunication can exist between totally different teams of subcontractors.
“It’s a primary dialog. Typically when it’s exhausting to know one another, we use signal language,” he mentioned.
Manar Normal Contracting has instructed Chaudhary she will be able to anticipate compensation by December. Nepal’s ministry of international affairs mentioned that it’d take a yr. “I’m so frightened. I’ve nobody to earn cash for the household now. How can I pay for our daughter’s training and lift her?”
The household has acquired compensation from two Nepali insurance coverage schemes however it isn’t sufficient to safe their future.
A spokesperson for the supreme committee mentioned: “The supreme committee carried out an impartial investigation into the circumstances resulting in the tragic loss of life of Mr Tharu … nonetheless, the case is at the moment open with Qatar’s public prosecution service. As soon as a last verdict has been reached we might be ready to launch extra particulars … and can work with the related authorities to make sure that the suitable funds are launched.”
A human assets supervisor from Manar Normal Contracting mentioned compensation has not been launched as a result of, “the case continues to be ongoing”.
Tharu’s loss of life and the authorities’ response have similarities to that of Zac Cox, a British development employee who fell to his loss of life on the Khalifa World Cup stadium in January 2017. Cox’s household struggled to acquire details about his loss of life. A British coroner investigating it concluded he died due to substandard gear, describing his working surroundings as “downright harmful”.
Three different al-Wakrah stadium staff have died this yr, all off website. Bhupendra Magar, 35, and Ramsis Mukhiya, 52, each Nepalis who had been engaged on the al-Wakrah stadium, died of their labour camp between shifts in Could and June, respectively. Their households are additionally nonetheless ready for compensation from their employers in Qatar.
Mohan Magar mentioned his brother’s spouse and two youngsters are struggling to get by. “The kids are nonetheless small. He has a spouse who doesn’t have an earnings. It’s exhausting,” he mentioned.
Magar had solely gone to Qatar in a bid to repay an enormous debt he had incurred when he borrowed nearly £4,000 to get a job in Afghanistan. The job fell via and Magar was left destitute. However Mohan mentioned his brother’s well being had been good. “He was sturdy and had undergone a medical examination earlier than leaving for Qatar. He was simply fantastic.”
In response to their loss of life certificates, Magar died of “acute respiratory failure” and Mukhiya of “acute coronary heart failure”, however specialists say the findings don’t clarify the underlying explanation for the deaths.
In its 2017 staff’ welfare report, the supreme committee categorised 5 comparable deaths of stadium staff as non-work associated.
“If we have no idea how staff are dying, it’s inconceivable to say if they’re work-related deaths or not. We all know the chance of warmth stress publicity is excessive in the summertime months and the safety is demonstrably insufficient, so these deaths elevate actual issues,” says Nick McGeehan, an knowledgeable on migrant employee rights within the Gulf.
Peak day time temperatures in Qatar reached 47C in June this yr and solely as soon as fell under 40C in the identical month.
The Supreme Committee mentioned it investigates all deaths on its websites. “Within the case of Mr Magar and Mr Mukhiya … there have been no apparent contributing components to both loss of life … warmth stress was not a contributing issue as per specialists report and the results of the medical investigation,” a spokesperson mentioned. “The duty to research underlying causes of loss of life lies with the related native authorities.”
A 2014 report by DLA Piper, a global regulation agency commissioned by the Qatari authorities to research the therapy of migrant staff, beneficial that the federal government order an impartial research into the deaths of migrant staff from cardiac arrest. The Qatar authorities didn’t reply to enquiries about whether or not the research has been commissioned.
The al-Wakrah stadium, designed by the late British architect Zaha Hadid, is about to host group video games and a quarter-final. Gianni Infantino, Fifa’s president, visited the stadium final month and mentioned it was “completely spectacular”.
Itahari, the nook of Nepal the place Tharu got here from, is surrounded by lush inexperienced rice paddies and couldn’t be extra totally different from Qatar. However migrating abroad for work is a lifestyle. Greater than 30% of Nepali migrant staff come from simply eight small districts within the south-east.
PK Mandal, a relative, mentioned there are round 200 homes in the neighborhood and 30 to 40 males have gone to work overseas prior to now 4 or 5 years. “International employment has introduced a variety of success, however that is the third loss of life in that point,” he mentioned.
Sita, Tharu’s mom, mentioned: “I’m heartbroken. My son has gone for ever. He’s by no means coming again. He has a small daughter. Life is lengthy and exhausting. How will she survive?”