Kuwait building fire: 40 Indians killed, many injured; Modi, Jaishankar react | World News - Hindustan Times
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Kuwait building fire: 40 Indians killed, many injured; Modi, Jaishankar react

Jun 12, 2024 05:38 PM IST

Kuwait fire: Indians constitute 21 per cent (1 million) of the total population of Kuwait and 30 per cent of its workforce (approximately 9 lakhs).

Kuwait fire: At least 40 Indian nationals were killed and dozens more injured on Wednesday in a devastating fire in a building in the southern Mangaf district of Kuwait housing Indian workers. The blaze broke out early Wednesday morning reportedly in a kitchen on a lower floor and quickly spread through the building, trapping many inside.

Kuwait building fire: Smoke billows after a fire broke out in a building, in Mangaf, Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. At least 41 people were killed, according to officials.(PTI)
Kuwait building fire: Smoke billows after a fire broke out in a building, in Mangaf, Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024. At least 41 people were killed, according to officials.(PTI)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths and said the Indian Embassy is “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,” the prime minister posted on X.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressed shock over the incident and said the Indian ambassador has gone to the camp.

“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,” Jaishankar posted on X.

“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 added.

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Indian ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, visited the site in Mangaf to ascertain the situation. He also visited the Al-Adan hospital where over 30 Indian workers injured in the fire incident have been admitted.

“He met a number of patients and assured them of full assistance from the Embassy,” the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said in a post on X.

"In connection with the tragic fire-accident involving Indian workers today, Embassy has put in place an emergency helpline number: 965-65505246. All concerned are requested to connect over this helpline for updates. Embassy remains committed to render all possible assistance," the Indian Embassy said in another post.

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal called the incident a “stark reminder of the appalling conditions in which Indian labourers live in the Middle East.”

“The Government, in collaboration with their respective counterparts, must ensure complete safety of our citizens - including proper housing facilities, with adequate safety precautions and amenities, to ensure they live a life of dignity,” he said on X.

KUNA reported that the fire had been brought under control and that authorities were combing the area for evidence as to the cause of the blaze.

The building reportedly housed around 195 labourers, including workers from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The building belongs to NBTC group owned by Malayali businessman KG Abraham, reported Onmanorama.

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"The building in which the fire occurred was used to house workers, and there was a large number of workers there. Dozens were rescued, but unfortunately there were many deaths as a result of inhaling smoke from the fire," a senior police commander told state TV.

"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.

Kuwait's Interior Minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah ordered police to apprehend the bulding owner, janitor, as well as the owner of the company responsible for the workers, the Kuwait Times reported.

"What happened today is a result of the greed of the company and building owners," the minister said in a statement as he visited the fire scene.

Authorities say an investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire.

With inputs from agencies

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