Catastrophic expat tent fires in the Jordan Valley… Can they be prevented this season?

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The accidents described as “catastrophic” resulted in dozens of victims, most of them children and women, after they were trapped without warning in the flames that broke out in their highly flammable plastic tent home.

Residents of tents or what are known as “agricultural dwellings” scattered throughout the Jordan Valley areas live under constant threat, which is intensified by the approach of winter and the need to provide heat in these dwellings in mostly unsafe ways by illegally extracting electricity with wires that may be exposed. and turn into danger Faithful touch when it rains.

In the past four years, we have witnessed several accidents that resulted in the death of almost 20 people from fire or electric shock, most of which occurred in winter. The most terrible of them was the death of four members of a family from the Pakistani community last year as a result of the burning of their plastic tent, two years before a similar fire killed 13 people from the same family, most of them children, according to official statistics.

A farmer, Raed Al-Abadi, believes that the repetition of such accidents requires a longer pause, especially since most of these accidents are victims of foreign workers who build their homes on farms with the lowest costs and available options, without providing minimum conditions for public safety, explaining that most of these families deliberately draw electricity from the grid illegally, thereby permanently endangering their lives.

He added that the most vulnerable families depend on houses built of iron poles covered with plastic, cardboard and fabrics, all of which are easily flammable materials, pointing out that most of these houses are located inside agricultural buildings and far from population centers, which makes it difficult for civil protection personnel to access in a suitable time for rescue and extinguishing. Fires.

Pakistani farmer Abdul Sattar confirms that most families working in the agricultural sector live in plastic houses inside the farms they work on, pointing out that economic conditions impose such a harsh reality on them to reduce costs to the minimum level with which they can provide all the necessities of life, either instead of renting house or daily transport to the farm.

He added that these houses are usually built with the lowest costs and available materials such as plastic, wood, cardboard and remnants of used fabrics, recognizing that these houses do not meet the minimum requirements of public safety, and most of their inhabitants depend on firewood and electricity for long distances.

Ghazi Shneikat, director of Southern Shuna Electricity Distribution, explains that most of these families depend on illegal extraction of electricity without complying with public safety requirements. Which increases the danger in the presence of many flammable materials.

He added that the failure to take the necessary precautions when connecting the electrical wires to the tent over the past years has caused many fires that have claimed the lives of many residents of those tents, warning residents not to attack networks and draw electricity, due to the great danger to life and property, especially in season. In winter, because rain and wind usually cause wire friction and sparking as a result of electrical contact, resulting in a fire with a lot of plastic materials and fabrics, not to mention causing electric shocks with the presence of water on the ground.

The head of the Jordan Valley Farmers’ Union, Adnan Al-Khaddam, confirms that more than 20,000 Pakistani farmers live in the Jordan Valley in roadside settlements and agricultural units, as well as the same number of Syrians, explaining that more than 90% of them resort to building tents made of layers of cardboard and houses covered with plastic do not meet minimum health and living conditions or public safety.

He explains that in recent years, the region has witnessed a large number of deaths caused by electric shocks or tent fires for several reasons, either illegal pumping or improper pumping of electricity, emphasizing the need for relevant bodies such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Civil Defense, in cooperation with administrative authorities, to detect Na these apartments, and ensure that the conditions of public safety are met, especially with regard to the conduction of electricity.

For his part, the head of the Public Health and Safety Committee, Southern Shuna District Governor, Dr. Ali Al-Haisah, indicated that a committee of competent authorities, starting with the Jordan Valley Authority and the Directorate of Agriculture and Civil Defense, would be formed to review and homes, determined their locations and worked to educate them about the need to comply with public safety measures in order to limit the recurrence of such incidents.

He added that hundreds of plastic houses inhabited by farming families, whether Pakistani or foreign workers, were built inside private farms and were not monitored, stressing that all necessary measures would be taken to save lives and property. those families.

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