Kuwait fire that killed 42 Indians triggers crackdown by authorities | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Kuwait fire that killed 42 Indians triggers crackdown by authorities

Jun 13, 2024 08:09 AM IST

At least 42 Indians were among those who died on Wednesday when the fire engulfed a seven-storey building at Mangaf in southern Kuwait

The devastating blaze in Kuwait that killed 49 people, mostly Indian workers, is being described as the worst building fire in the country’s history and has triggered a crackdown on housing violations by the local government.

Kuwait’s health minister Ahmad Al-Awadhi said 56 injured people were taken to local hospitals. (AFP Photo)
Kuwait’s health minister Ahmad Al-Awadhi said 56 injured people were taken to local hospitals. (AFP Photo)

At least 42 Indians were among those who died on Wednesday when the fire engulfed a seven-storey building at Mangaf in southern Kuwait that housed foreign workers. Kuwait’s health minister Ahmad Al-Awadhi said 56 injured people were taken to local hospitals.

The incident was the worst building fire in Kuwait’s history and triggered calls for action against landlords and company owners who “violate the law to house large numbers of foreign laborers in extremely unsafe conditions to cut costs”, the Kuwait Times newspaper reported.

Kuwait’s first deputy prime minister and interior minister, Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, said authorities will begin inspecting apartment buildings from Thursday and crack down on all violations without warning. The owner of the building where the fire occurred will be kept in custody till an investigation is completed, he said.

Al-Sabah said Kuwait’s Public Authority of Manpower will examine the issue of overcrowding of expatriate workers in buildings and the failure to comply with safety conditions.

Minister of state for external affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, who was directed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to travel to Kuwait to oversee relief measures and to facilitate the expeditious repatriation of bodies, left New Delhi on Thursday morning.

“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, adding that DNA tests are being done to identify the bodies. An Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft is on stand-by to bring the bodies back, he said.

The injured have been admitted to five government hospitals in Kuwait and the external affairs ministry cited hospital authorities as saying that most of the patients are stable.

The building had been rented by NBTC group, an engineering and construction firm partially owned by an Indian national, to house more than 195 workers, most of them Indians from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and northern states. Most of the dead and injured were from Kerala, local reports said.

The fire erupted just after 4 am when most of the residents of the building were asleep. It resulted in thick clouds of smoke that suffocated most of the victims, Kuwait Times reported, quoting officials from the country’s interior ministry and fire department.

Kuwait’s public prosecutor said in a post on X that it had launched an investigation into the fire to ascertain what triggered the deadly blaze. There has been no official word on the cause of the fire, though some sections of the local media reported it could have been caused by a gas leak in the building’s ground floor.

The head of investigations at Kuwait’s fire department, Col Sayed Al-Mousawi, said the team probing the fire had found an inflammable material was used as partitions between apartments and between rooms, and this caused the black clouds of smoke. Many of the victims suffocated while trying to run down stairwells filled with smoke, and people couldn’t go to the rooftop because the door was locked, he said.

Mousawi said the work of fire fighters was hindered by many violations inside and outside the building. An Egyptian national told reporters from his hospital bed that it took him two hours to get out of the burning building with the help of fire fighters, and that he had seen several charred bodies.

The blaze was the second largest fire disaster in Kuwait in terms of the death toll. In August 2009, a woman, angry over her husband getting married for the second time, had set a wedding tent on fire, killing 56 women and children.

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crickit, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Infographics & much more. Explore now!

See more

Get Current Updates on World News, US News , Hollywood News , Anime and Top Headlines from around the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On