Kuwait fire kills Kerala man, his dream of having own house remains unfulfilled | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kuwait fire kills Kerala man, his dream of having own house remains unfulfilled

Jun 14, 2024 12:25 PM IST

Stephin Abraham Sabu, 29, was among the 49 people, mostly Indians, killed in the fire that broke out at a building housing foreign workers

Stephin Abraham Sabu, 29, dreamt of building a home in Kerala, where his parents struggled all their lives shifting from one rented house to another. He had just begun to have a comfortable life in Kuwait with a decent income to start constructing a home at Pampady in Kottayam close to the rented house where his family stayed.

Indian ambassador Adarsh Swaika at a hospital where 11 workers injured in the fire are admitted. (X)
Indian ambassador Adarsh Swaika at a hospital where 11 workers injured in the fire are admitted. (X)

Sabu did not live to see his dream of having a house of his own fulfilled. On Wednesday, Sabu was among the 49 people, mostly Indians, killed in the fire that broke out at a building housing foreign workers. Sabu’s home was due to be completed next month.

Sabu was employed with an engineering and construction firm. His younger brother worked in the same firm but lived in a different building.

Babu, a friend, said Sabu’s family was numbed. “The family is too shocked to react. They were waiting for him to come sometime later this year to hold the housewarming and to arrange his marriage. It is a big loss for the family and the community here.”

He said Sabu maintained close ties with his neighbours in Kerala and had a wide circle of friends. “When we first heard of the fire on Wednesday morning, we prayed and hoped that he would escape. His name was not among those reported dead in the early hours on local Malayalam channels. We thought he may have been injured and taken to a hospital. But by afternoon, it was confirmed that he was among the dead,” he said.

Sharafudheen Kanneth of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre, who has been at the site of the fire since Wednesday coordinating with government agencies, said 12 of those killed from Kerala have been identified.

“Almost all of the bodies have by now been retrieved from the fire-hit building, but the government rescue workers are still doing last-minute checks. The fire is suspected to have originated from the ground floor and spread to higher floors. After we identify all the deceased, we will coordinate with the Indian embassy to make efforts to send their remains home,” Kanneth said over the phone from Kuwait.

The Kerala government announced 5 lakh compensation each for the families of the 12 people from the state killed in the fire after a special Cabinet meeting on Thursday. 1 lakh each will be given to those injured.

Kerala health minister Veena George and state National Health Mission director Jeevan Babu were due to leave for Kuwait to coordinate medical operations and to bring the bodies home, a note from the Cabinet said.

Prominent businessmen MA Yusuff Ali and Ravi Pillai have pledged 5 lakh and 2 lakh each to the families of those killed. The state government will also set up a global contact centre and help desk in Kuwait.

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