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Girl hit by falling cement bag in critical condition

The president ordered an immediate safety review and inspection of all construction sites.



A seven-year-old girl who was hit by a falling cement bag Sunday morning remains in critical condition after undergoing surgery at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Malé.

After a second surgery at midnight, she is now breathing through a ventilator at the intensive care unit, her family told the press.

Horrific video footage of the accident was widely shared on social media, prompting concern and outrage over the lack of safety measures. It shows a cloud of cement mix descend on the girl while she was walking on the pavement ahead of her mother.

The girl was hospitalised with internal bleeding and severe injuries to her shoulder blade and legs, Malé City Mayor Shifa Mohamed briefed the media.

She is the daughter of two Bangladeshi doctors working in Faafu atoll Nilandhoo, she said. The family came to the capital for a short shopping holiday.

The cement bag fell from the fifth floor of Maafannu Nalahiya Manzil, a 10-storey building under construction by the W Construction company. The torn sack fell through a hole in the safety net while workers were lifting cement bags to upper floors.

In a statement, W Construction denied the city council’s allegations of failing to obtain permits and expressed regret over the accident. The company is covering the girl’s medical expenses, it said.

In the wake of a public outcry, the authorities suspended issuing permits as the president ordered an immediate review of safety procedures and inspection of all construction sites in the capital.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said he ordered the action “so that more stringent measures may be put in place for the safety of workers and the general public.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the little girl and her family,” he added.