11 dead in Qatar labour camp fire
AFP, , Thursday 2 Jun 2016

A fire ripped through a camp housing labourers in southwestern Qatar killing 11 people and injuring 12 others, the interior ministry said Thursday.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire which broke out on Wednesday at a camp for labourers working on a waterfront tourism project, it said.

"11 people died and 12 injured in the fire and they are hospitalised. Investigation is going on to identify the causes of the fire," the ministry tweeted.

Pictures posted online, purportedly from the site of the fire, showed charcoal black smoke rising hundreds of feet into the air.

The interior ministry said that civil defence teams contained the blaze and that firefighters managed to prevent it from spreading.

The identity of the victims was not immediately known.

A vast number of migrant labourers work in Qatar on numerous infrastructure projects.

The energy-rich Gulf nation has been repeatedly criticised by non-governmental organisations and unions for the conditions faced by those workers.

Qatar, which will host the football World Cup in 2022, has in recent months said it has made great strides in improving accommodation for a large number of labourers.

Subsequently, it is in the process of building seven modern "cities" to house almost 260,000 workers, with the first of these already open.

In February, a 35-year-old Indian worker was killed in a fire which ripped through a labour camp in the town of Al-Sheehaniya, west of the capital, Doha.

A further labour camp fire last August saw almost 450 workers lose their passports and belongings.