A 10-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother have died in the Saudi city of Jeddah after apparently being poisoned by a neigbour’s use of an anti-cockroach insecticide. The mother of two children remains seriously ill, while the father – who works for the Danish Arla dairy company – is in a stable condition.
According to reports in local media, neighbours to the family of four had used a particularly strong insecticide to kill cockroaches. The insecticide is banned for in-house use in Saudi Arabia.
While the neighbours went on holiday, the insecticide is said to have spread to the neighbouring house. When the family of four woke on Sunday morning, both children were ill and taken to hospital where they died.
The Saudi Gazette claims the family’s neighbours were also Danish, with both families living in apartments in the Al-Masarrah district in Jeddah.
“Police found traces at the apartment of aluminum phosphate, a chemical used in insecticides, although no insecticide was found in the apartment itself,” the Saudi Gazette said.
Criminal Evidence Director Saleh Zowaid told the Gazette that there had been six similar deaths this month. “Aluminum phosphate is banned from use in homes,” Zowaid said. “It is classified as a dangerous insecticide of the first class, and is only permitted to be used on farms and in open areas,” he said.
The General Director of Health Affairs in Jeddah, Sami Badawoud, said the insecticide had already been recalled from the market following reports of its dangers.
A friend of the family tells ekstrabladet.dk that the father’s condition is now improving, as is the mother’s, although she remains seriously ill.