Assessing the Status of Housing Conditions for Workers of Farms in Liwa within the United Arab Emirates

Fatima Marzouq AlMehairbi

Abstract


Background: Farmworkers in Liwa city, UAE, experience harsh environmental exposures, and poor living conditions which could have detrimental effects on health. Aim: This study aims to (i) assess the status of farmworkers’ housing conditions (ii) evaluate the quality of air within the farmhouses; (iii) provide guidance to local farm owners and local authorities on ideal requirements to ensure safety and suggest implementation of best practices. Methodology: This study employed a cross-sectional design and randomly assessed 31 farmworkers’ houses in Liwa.  A total of 67 workers from south Asia completed the satisfaction questionnaire adopted from Ndlambe Municipality Customer Satisfaction Survey (2011). Age of participants ranged between 20 and 60 with a mean value of 33.7. Housing quality was evaluated based on building structure, exposure to chemical hazards and services provided as per guidelines from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity 2007-2013 and WorkSafe New Zealand 2014. Quality of air was tested using a handheld 3016 IAQ Lighthouse particle counter. Results: The data showed that the level of education was as follows: 43% elementary or less, 37% primary- intermediate and 19% secondary or more. The air quality exceeded the WHO limits: PM2.5 reached 202.5 μg/m3 and the maximum PM10 was 1914.7 μg/m3. The housing conditions were poor with high potential for accidents and risks. Despite the status of housing, most participants were very satisfied with their conditions. This could be either due to lack of knowledge of best practices and good standard conditions or an attempt to restrict complaints in fear of being fired. Conclusion: These findings support the need for action towards the improvement of housing conditions of farmworkers in Liwa through better planning and collaboration between the hiring agencies that recruit these workers and the municipality.


Keywords


Liwa Farmworkers, Housing Conditions, Air Quality

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