Last week crowned charcoal as the leading cause for deaths in Kuwait. Several people were found dead or in a coma due to carbon monoxide poisoning. I honestly fail to understand why anyone would burn charcoal in their rooms and go to sleep! It is simple – charcoal kills, and should only be used in open places. How difficult is that?
I tried to speak to some people who have witnessed such cases and it seems they now know how dangerous this plan can be. But it’s too late for those who died last week. They did not decide to commit suicide in this way, but it is often due to ignorance, poverty and a lack of other means of heating. So they did not intentionally end their lives in this way.
Certainly, the recurrence of such incidents in a small community like Kuwait is puzzling. A citizen reported that two of his workers at his farm died from inhaling carbon monoxide inside their room. The victims, along with a third worker, had lit charcoal in a brazier in an attempt to stay warm during the night. Then they fell asleep. Two of them were found dead the next day, while a third remains in critical condition. If those workers had a decent source of heating or an electric heater, they wouldn’t have been forced to use charcoal.
Last week, a father lost his son in the same way. The young man went with his colleagues on a road trip in the desert, and seeking warmth at night, they lit coal and slept in a tent. The next morning, he was unresponsive and admitted to hospital in a coma. He died a few days later. Now the father is in grief over the loss of his son, but I keep thinking what might lead anyone to stay in the desert in such cold weather for any reason. Frankly, I cannot comprehend such actions.
Another couple suffocated due to a charcoal fire. Both are in coma now. The woman, who was pregnant, lost her unborn child, who died in the womb. It’s really a sad ending. The question remains: Did those people know about the seriousness of burning charcoal in closed spaces, or is it ignorance? Despite repeated warnings by the Interior Ministry on this subject, this situation keeps happening. Until this cold wave is over, we will witness more people dying.
I repeat: Charcoal kills, so watch out!
By Muna Al-Fuzai