Tuas explosion: Workers who died from injuries in fire were breadwinners

Tuas explosion: Workers who died from injuries in fire were breadwinners

Tuas fire victims
(From left to right) Shohel Md, Anisuzzaman Md, Marimuthu died in the Tuas explosion that occurred on Feb 24, 2021. Non-profit organisation ItsRainingRaincoats is raising funds for their families, and five other victims who are still undergoing treatment. (Photo: ItsRainingRaincoats GIVE.asia campaign site)

SINGAPORE: The three workers who died from injuries sustained in a explosion at an industrial building in Tuas last week have been identified, with migrant worker advocacy group ItsRainingRaincoats (IRR) saying that the men were financially supporting their families back home.

During the explosion, five other workers were critically injured.

An online drive by ItsRainingRaincoats has as of Tuesday (Mar 2) afternoon raised nearly S$400,000 for the workers, surpassing its goal of S$300,000. The campaign hosted on GIVE.asia will end at 12pm on Wednesday. 

ItsRainingRaincoats said donations will be "equally distributed" among the eight victims.

Funds will be held by GIVE.asia and disbursed by the platform to the victims’ immediate family members' accounts.

The group will also get in touch with local representatives in the victims' home countries to administer the donations, it said.

READ: Tuas explosion - 3 workers die from injuries, 5 in critical condition

The incident on Feb 24 was caused by a combustible dust explosion at a site used by Stars Engrg. The dust was in the form of potato starch powder, a material used for production by the company.

The eight workers were employees of the company. 

Another two workers from an opposite unit also suffered burns during the incident, but have since been discharged from hospital.

READ: Tuas fire - The explosive danger of potato powder, sugar, flour and other dust particles

On the fundraising website, ItsRainingRaincoats shared details of the three men who died:

Shohel Md

shohel md
Shohel Md had just turned 23 last month and was the second of five siblings. (Photo: ItsRainingRaincoats Facebook page)

Mr Shohel had just turned 23 last month and was the second of five siblings.

He was from Bangladesh.

ItsRainingRaincoats, who spoke to Mr Shohel's younger brother, said Mr Shohel was one instalment away from paying off the debt he took to work in Singapore when he died.

Before Mr Shohel left for the country, he told his father to stop working and that he would take care of the family, ItsRainingRaincoats cited Mr Shohel’s brother as saying.

Their mother recently underwent a major surgery and is on long-term medication.

After he arrived in Singapore, Mr Shohel would send home money each month, ItsRainingRaincoats cited Mr Shohel’s brother as saying. The money Mr Shohel sent back also went to his younger siblings’ education.

“Brother took care of all our needs and would get us things even before we could ask for it,” Mr Shohel's borther Mr Masud told ItsRainingRaincoats.

READ: Tuas explosion - Inquiry Committee to study factors that led to fatal workplace incident

Anisuzzaman Md

ani md
Anisuzzaman had lived in Singapore for 17 months. The 29-year-old Bangladeshi was a key breadwinner for the family as both parents are not well enough to work. (Photo: ItsRainingRaincoats Facebook page)

Mr Anisuzzaman had lived in Singapore for 17 months. The 29-year-old Bangladeshi was a key breadwinner for the family as both parents are not well enough to work, ItsRainingRaincoats wrote.

The organisation, who spoke to Mr Anisuzzaman’s eldest brother, said that Mr Anisuzzaman was taking care of his younger siblings’ education.

He had taken a loan to come to Singapore and still has quite a sum to pay off. 

“Everyone in their hometown knew Ani. He not only served his family but was always ready to support anyone,” ItsRainingRaincoats said.

Marimuthu

Marimuthu
Safety supervisor Mr Marimuthu, 38, leaves behind his wife Rajapriya, 28, and two daughters five-year-old Riya Sri and 10-month-old Lithisha. He never got to meet his newborn child. (Photo: ItsRainingRaincoats Facebook page)

Safety supervisor Mr Marimuthu, 38, leaves behind his mother, a father who is blind, four sisters, a younger brother, his wife Rajapriya, 28, and two daughters - five-year-old Riya Sri and 10-month-old Lithisha. He had worked in Singapore for more than 12 years. 

Mr Marimuthu, who was called “Muthu” and came from India, never got to meet his newborn daughter. He was last home in August 2019, The Straits Times reported.

"He never got to enjoy his life as he was always struggling to make ends meet," said ItsRainingRaincoats.

READ: 10 people suffer burns after 'loud explosion' at Tuas industrial building

ItsRainingRaincoats said it has also identified the five migrant workers in critical condition, and that its volunteers are “engaged to connect” with their families to provide support.

“No amount of money can bring back lives or restore fully these men and families. We can only do our best to show a little kindness and compassion, and to carry our own little light into this grim situation,” ItsRainingRaincoats wrote. 

“We hope this is episode will also turn the focus back on the importance of ensuring workplace safety in all settings at all times,” it added. 

Source: CNA/rp

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