The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in Qatar and hundreds of migrant labourers used for construction, are being forced to work in extreme temperatures, report Amnesty International. Qatar’s construction boom hit its peak this summer, ahead of the World Cup and most of the workers are toiling hard in temperatures of up to 45C for up to 10 hours a day with hundreds estimated to be dying from heat stress every year. The Qatari authorities however, have claimed that they are on course to protect the workers from heat-related injuries through a work ban that prohibits working in unshaded outdoor areas between 11.30 and 3pm.
The country’s construction boom started following their successful bid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the country’s migrant worker population suddenly rose to 1.9m. Many of these young men are from Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan who travel to the country to build the stadiums, roads and hotels that will service the tournament.
Doha, the capital, is currently hosting the World Athletics Championships and the athletes have already complained about the extreme heat conditions last week. But the workers remain in dire situations as there is a serious risk of harm from heat stress between 9am and 12 noon throughout October. A recent research showed that working in high temperatures puts a huge strain on the human cardiovascular system, leading to fatal heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
A professor of cardiology at the Oslo University Hospital said, “Young men have a very low incidence of heart attacks yet hundreds of them are dying every year in Qatar attributed to cardiovascular causes. Their bodies cannot take the heat stress they are being exposed to.”
While a government spokesperson claimed, “We know that working conditions, particularly in summer, can be challenging and that heat stress needs particular attention, which is why we have introduced the national heat stress guidance.”
Professor Tord Kjellstrom, a consultant on environmental and occupational health for the United Nations has asked for immediate solutions to this problem citing,
“As global temperatures rise because of the climate crisis, the health risk posed by heat stress will have devastating health consequences for millions, yet is still not being seen as the emergency that it is. This has to change.”