India steps up efforts to provide medical care to injured citizens in Kuwait | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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India steps up efforts to provide medical care to injured citizens in Kuwait

Jun 13, 2024 10:01 PM IST

DNA tests were being done to identify the bodies and an IAF aircraft was on stand-by to bring back the bodies, Union minister Kirti Vardhan Singh said

NEW DELHI: Indian authorities on Thursday stepped up efforts to provide medical care to citizens injured in a devastating fire in Kuwait and to identify those who died in the incident, even as the total number of Indians killed by the blaze rose to 45.

MoS for external affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh meets Indians injured in Wednesday’s fire at the Jaber hospital in Kuwait on June 13 (PTI/VIA @indembkwt)
MoS for external affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh meets Indians injured in Wednesday’s fire at the Jaber hospital in Kuwait on June 13 (PTI/VIA @indembkwt)

Forty-nine people, mostly Indians, died and another 56 were injured in the fire on Wednesday at a building at Mangaf in southern Kuwait that housed nearly 200 foreign workers. Most of the dead and injured were from Kerala. Kuwait is home to an Indian expatriate community of nearly one million.

Kuwait’s deputy prime minister Sheikh Fahad Yousef Saud Al-Sabah told the local media that authorities had identified the bodies of 45 Indians and three Filipinos. Efforts were underway to identify the remaining body, said Al-Sabah, who also heads the interior ministry.

Minister of state for external affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, directed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to travel to Kuwait to oversee relief measures and to facilitate the expeditious repatriation of bodies, visited several hospitals to meet the injured. He met Al-Sabah and foreign minister Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya to take stock of the situation.

“The situation is that most of the victims are burn victims and some of the bodies have been charred beyond recognition,” Singh told the media before leaving New Delhi early on Thursday. DNA tests were being done to identify the bodies and an IAF aircraft was on stand-by to bring back the bodies, Singh said.

At his meeting with Al-Sabah, Singh was informed that the Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, had issued instructions to ensure that all necessary assistance and support was provided to those affected by the fire.

Singh thanked Al-Sabah and the leadership of Kuwait for the “pro-active facilitation being provided by Kuwaiti authorities”, according to a post on X by the Indian embassy.

Al-Yahya offered his condolences on the tragic incident and assured Singh of Kuwait’s full support, including medical care, early repatriation of bodies and an investigation into the incident.

Kuwait is harnessing all the necessary capabilities to meet the medical needs of the injured, and authorities are doing everything necessary to ascertain the circumstances and causes of the horrific fire, Al-Yahya was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the foreign ministry. Justice will take its course in this case with all transparency and integrity, he said.

Singh lauded the Kuwait government’s rapid response and appreciated the medical care provided to the injured.

Singh visited Adan Hospital, where 12 Indians are being treated. He also went to Mubarak Al Kabeer Hospital, where seven injured Indians were admitted, and to Jaber Hospital, where six injured are being treated.

He also visited Jahra Hospital and interacted with six Indians admitted there, before going to Farwaniya Hospital, where one more Indian was admitted. Singh assured the injured of all support from the Indian government.

Singh also met Kuwait’s health minister Ahmad Abdelwahab Ahmad Al-Awadi, who briefed him on the treatment of the injured Indians. Singh thanked him for the “exceptional medical care and attention” provided to the Indians.

People familiar with the matter said a C-130J Hercules medium-lift aircraft of the IAF was expected to take off for Kuwait late on Thursday to bring back the bodies of the dead.

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