Community champions from across Bahrain are gearing up to distribute water bottles and hydrating snacks to boost the energy of workers toiling in the sweltering heat. The initiative aims to spread awareness about staying hydrated and healthy throughout the scorching summer months.

The Indian Community Relief Fund (ICRF), a registered charitable association, is planning to distribute water and fruit at worksites across the kingdom once the midday work ban is announced. The ban is an annual two-month outdoor work restriction between noon and 4pm, when temperatures hit or come close to 50C. It has been in force since 2013 following an edict issued by Labour Minister Jameel Humaidan.“We will visit various worksites across Bahrain and speak to labourers about the importance of staying healthy and hydrated in summer,” ICRF chairman Dr Babu Ramachandran told the GDN. More than 18,000 workers have benefited from the drive since its launch in 2016.“We will also sit with workers and discuss ways to prevent heat exhaustion besides handing out food items,” said Dr Ramachandran.

Those who work outdoors in the construction sector could suffer from heat stroke in extreme temperatures. A recent study released by the Washington DC-based non-profit organisation Middle East Institute pointed out that migrant workers were the most vulnerable group when it came to extreme heat, as ‘many of them work outdoors in occupations like construction, maintenance and public works’.“Considering Bahrain’s high temperatures and humidity, this public health predicament is very much a relevant issue for the kingdom,” it added.

The Pakistani Women’s Association (PWA), another registered charitable association, plans to distribute ‘keepsake thermoses’ filled with refreshing drinks to help labourers stay hydrated.Thermos flasks are known to keep drinks cold for longer periods of time compared to conventional water bottles. In recent years, the group has made it a point to prioritise sustainability. “We want to emphasise the importance of reusing metal containers instead of plastic as they are healthier and are better for the environment,” the group’s president Shahmeen Islam told the GDN. “We are also calling on the public to donate thermos bottles to help workers during this season,” she added.Restaurants and organisations are also being urged to provide beverages or food to workers.

“Our annual refreshment drive not only pledges to provide essential hydration for workers battling the heat, but also reduces the environmental footprint by replacing plastic bottles with sustainable thermoses,” added Ms Islam.Meanwhile, non-registered community group Lights of Kindness has started to give away water bottles, juice, snacks, fruits and Bahrain Bus Go Cards to low-income workers across the country as part of their annual Beat the Heat initiative. “We have distributed Bahrain Bus Go Cards with money on them so that labourers who don’t have their own transport service can take the bus to work instead of walking in extreme temperatures,” the group’s founder Syed Haneef told the GDN. By the time the initiative ends, he said, the group plans to distribute more than 1,500 food boxes to labourers around the country.Juffair Juniors, a group of new mums, has delivered essential supplies to more than 100 workers at two construction sites.

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