40 Indians killed, 50 injured in southern Kuwait fire; Saddening, says PM Modi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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40 Indians killed, 50 injured in southern Kuwait fire; Saddening, says PM Modi

Jun 12, 2024 05:47 PM IST

Kuwait’s interior minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah ordered police to apprehend the owner and janitor of the Al-Mangaf building

New Delhi: At least 40 Indian nationals were killed and dozens more injured on Wednesday in a devastating fire in a building in southern Kuwait housing Indian workers, said officials, adding the number of casualties is expected to rise.

The fire in the Al-Mangaf building, a residence for workers, was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4.30am (Twitter Photo)
The fire in the Al-Mangaf building, a residence for workers, was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4.30am (Twitter Photo)

The fire in the Al-Mangaf building, a residence for workers, was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4:30am, and most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation while the residents were asleep, reports in the Kuwaiti media said.

NBTC group, an engineering and construction firm, rented the building to house more than 195 workers, most of them Indians from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and northern states. Those who died ranged in age between 20 and 50 years, the reports said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Indian Embassy in Kuwait was closely monitoring the situation and working with the authorities there to assist the affected. “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,” he said in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

“Deeply shocked by the news of the fire incident in Kuwait...There are reportedly over 40 deaths and over 50 have been hospitalised,” external affairs minister S Jaishankar said in another post.

People familiar with the matter confirmed on condition of anonymity that 40 Indian nationals had died and more than 50 had sustained injuries. Details about the casualties are still being gathered as the dead and injured were taken to several hospitals.

Indian ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, visited the site to gather information, Jaishankar said. “Deepest condolences to the families of those who tragically lost their lives. Wish early and full recovery to those who have been injured. Our Embassy will render the fullest assistance to all concerned in this regard,” he said.

Swaika visited three hospitals where the injured were taken and assured them of the full support of Indian authorities, according to posts on X by the Indian Embassy.

The eleven injured Indian nationals were taken to Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, and 10 of them are expected to be released later in the day. Six more injured people were taken to Farwaniya Hospital, and four of them were subsequently released, while one was shifted to Jahra Hospital. More than 30 injured Indians were taken to Al-Adan Hospital, and officials said most of them were in a stable condition.

The Indian embassy said in a post on X that it is in touch with Kuwaiti law enforcement, fire service and health authorities for necessary action and emergency medical care.

Footage shared on social media showed huge flames and black smoke coming out of the building as firefighters attempted to control the blaze.

Kuwait’s interior minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah ordered police to apprehend the owner and janitor of the Al-Mangaf building, as well as the owner of the company responsible for the workers living in the building.

“What happened today is a result of the greed of company and building owners,” Al-Sabah was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times as he toured the scene of the blaze.

Al-Sabah has further ordered the Kuwait municipality and the public authority for manpower to take immediate action to address similar violations where large numbers of workers are crammed into one residential building and to ensure that all safety requirements are in place to prevent similar incidents.

Saud Al-Dabbous, director general of the Kuwait Municipality, issued orders to suspend several officials, including the deputy director general for Al-Ahmadi governorate, the acting director of Al-Ahmadi municipality, the director of the audit and engineering department, and the head of the violations removal department.

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