Downfall in Qatar

December symbolises the start of the summer months in New Zealand. Whilst the sun begins to shine; last week on the other side of the world, Qatar experienced a year’s worth of rain within a matter of hours.

The heavy rainfall caused extensive damage and exposed potentially poor construction practices. Notable damage was caused to the city’s recently completed $17 billion airport. The airport is part of the $200 billion in infrastructure projects to be completed by Qatar ahead of hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Following the damage, the Prime Minister has launched an inquiry into all government bodies and private companies involved in the construction of buildings, where flaws have been revealed by rain. As well as this, the country has banned the contractors involved from leaving the country whilst the investigation takes place.

Qatar’s construction boom is clearly putting pressure on workers. Human rights groups have complained about the treatment of migrant workers in charge of building the infrastructure (we previously blogged about the conditions faced by migrant construction workers in Qatar in March of this year).

Although an investigation is underway, this may have severe implications for the city in the build-up the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

This disaster provides some food for thought for both Qatar and New Zealand in relation to:

  • the use of migrant workers within the construction industry
  • how to ensure safety with building booms leading up to major events
  • ensuring infrastructure is built to code to withstand potential natural disasters.

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