With reporting from Malak Monir
Qatar authorities have launched an investigation into the death of a four-year-old British girl after she was reportedly left in a car for a morning.
The girl, who family friends identified as Firdaws Khan, died yesterday, medical sources told Doha News.
The circumstances surrounding her death have not yet been officially confirmed.
However, a number of sources told Doha News that the girl had been left by a family member in a car outside a Qatar school for several hours, when outdoor temperatures were in the high 30s.
In a statement to Doha News, a spokeswoman for the British Embassy here said, “A female British national aged four has died in Qatar. The circumstances are under investigation by the local authorities.”
The family member is understood to be a teacher at the school where the car was parked, and the child was reportedly discovered at around midday yesterday.
A friend said the mother of the girl, who is one of two wives in the family, was “distraught” and that she saw the incident as a “genuine mistake.”
“She wants to remind people that it is hot now, and they must be careful not to leave any children in the car for any length of time,” the friend told Doha News.
Separately, the girl’s father is a teacher at Al Maha Academy in Ain Khalid (which is not where the child was found). An official there said he heard of the child’s death, but that few details were available.
Such reported incidents are relatively rare in Qatar.
In 2010, a four-year-old kindergarten student at DPS-MIS (Delhi Public School – Modern Indian School) died when she was left behind in a locked school bus for more than four hours.
Since then, schools have increased monitoring on buses by adding attendants to ensure no children are forgotten.
Note: This article has been corrected to reflect that a Maha Academy school official, and not the headteacher, spoke to Doha News.