Riyadh| A 36-year old woman was found dead after being left all day in a hot sport utility vehicle in a factory parking lot.
According to Saudi authorities, Fiza Haifeh died of hyperthermia after spending more than 10 hours locked up in her husband’s car, with the temperature hovering around 45 °C (113 Fahrenheit) much of the afternoon.
Her husband told officers that he didn’t have time to drop his wife off at home before going to work and that he forgot to open a window like he usually did when he left her in the car.
The temperature inside the car is believed to have rapidly reached over 70 °C (158 Fahrenheit). Stuck inside the car for hours at such temperatures, the woman had no chance of survival.
Every year, approximately 2500 people die of hyperthermia across the world after being left in vehicles.
The majority of these victims are elderly people or young children. In the Arabian peninsula, however, more than 75% of the victims are adult woman, who are left in cars by their husbands or brethren.
In Saudi Arabia alone, the numbers of heatstroke deaths of women in cars averages 37 a year, with a record of 49 in 2010.
According to Human Rights Watch, these women prefer to remain in the vehicles and endure unbearable heat rather than exiting and facing possible arrest and physical punishment.
Although women’s rights have been incrementally extended in recent years, women who walk alone in the street still face up to 50 lashes if they get caught.