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49 People Including Many Indians, Perished in Kuwait Building Fire

49 People Including Many Indians, Perished in Kuwait Building Fire

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NEW DELHI, June 12: Several Indians were among 49 killed after a fire broke out in a building housing workers in Mangaf area in Kuwait’s southern Ahmadi Governorate on Wednesday.

The incident happened around 6 am local time (9 am IST). Kuwaiti officials said over 40 people have been hospitalised.

The officials said the fire started in a kitchen in the six-storey building which reportedly had nearly 160 people living in it, who are workers of the same company. Eyewitnesses said some people jumped from the fifth floor of the building to escape the fire and died.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a post on X offered condolences to the families of those killed in the fire “The fire mishap in Kuwait City is saddening. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest. The Indian Embassy in Kuwait is closely monitoring the situation and working with the authorities there to assist the affected,” he said.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said the Indian ambassador has gone to the site of the incident. “Deeply shocked by the news of the fire incident in Kuwait City. There are reportedly over 40 deaths and over 50 have been hospitalized. Our Ambassador has gone to the camp. We are awaiting further information,” Mr S Jaishankar said.

The Indian embassy in Kuwait has issued a helpline number and earlier said the fire accident involved some Indian workers and the embassy will give all possible assistance.

The X handle of Indian Ambassador to Kuwait Adarsh Swaika said over 30 Indian workers injured in fire have been admitted to hospital. “Ambassador Adarsh Swaika visited the Al-Adan hospital where over 30 Indian workers injured in today’s fire incident have been admitted… Met a number of patients and assured them of full assistance from the embassy. Almost all are reported to be stable by hospital authorities,” the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said.

Junior Foreign Minister Kirti Vardhan Singh will go to Kuwait to help Indians injured in the fire, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said. “As directed by PM Narendra Modi, MoS for External Affairs KV Singh is urgently travelling to Kuwait to oversee assistance to those injured in the fire tragedy and to coordinate with local authorities for early repatriation of mortal remains of those who have died in this unfortunate incident,” the spokesperson said.

The Ambassador met the patients and assured them of full assistance from the Embassy. Indians constitute 21 per cent (1 million) of the total population of Kuwait, and 30 per cent of its workforce (approximately 9 lakh).

“The building in which the fire occurred was used to house workers, and there were many workers there. Dozens were rescued, but unfortunately there were many deaths as a result of inhaling smoke from the fire,” a senior police officer said. “We always alert and warn against” cramming too many workers into housing accommodation, he said, without providing details on the workers’ type of employment or place of origin. The fire was contained and authorities were investigating its cause.

Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad al-Yousuf al-Sabah visited the site and ordered the arrest of the building’s janitor, as well as the owner of the company responsible for the workers pending the end of the criminal evidence personnel’s examination of the scene. “Unfortunately, “What happened today is a result of the greed of the company and building owners,” the Minister, who also runs the interior and defence ministries, said in a statement as he visited the fire scene.

He said he gave orders to Kuwait Municipality and the Public Authority for Manpower to launch immediate action to address similar violations where large numbers of workers are crammed into one residential building, and make sure that all safety requirements are in place in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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