Retired public servant dies while waiting for pension in Sulaimani

Body of a man who passed away in Sulaimani while waiting to receive his pension on Wednesday July 15, 2020 (Photo Credit: Social Media)

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SULAIMANI — A retired public servant in Sulaimani passed away on Wednesday (July 15) while waiting several hours for his turn to receive his pension.

NRT reporter Karzan Tariq said that the deceased was named as Jabar Ghafur, who was 73-years-old.

According to one witness, Ghafur had been waiting in the queue at a location in Rizagari from 8 a.m. until 12 p.m., but that his turn had not yet come because of the large number of people ahead of him in line. He appeared to become unwell and stepped out of line, sitting in the shadow of a tree before collapsing. His precise cause of death was not immediately clear.

His body was transported from the scene by police, the witness said.

Pensions and government salaries are typically disbursed monthly in cash, which often results in long lines on payday. This particular disbursement was especially important because it is the first one since mid-May and only the second since February because of the Kurdistan Regional Government's (KRG) perilous financial situation.

Disbursements typically occur at banks or offices, which provide few accommodations for elderly or disabled pensioners and public servants, who often queue outside until their turn comes due to space limitations. The high temperature in Sulaimani on Wednesday was 39 C (102 F).

Moreover, with coronavirus infections continuing to rise, it is risky for people to gather in large crowds.

(NRT Digital Media)