Kuwait fire tragedy: Deputy PM blames ‘greed’ as 40 Indians killed; Modi calls urgent meeting | Top 10 | World News - Hindustan Times
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Kuwait fire tragedy: Deputy PM blames ‘greed’ as 40 Indians killed; Modi calls urgent meeting | Top 10

Jun 13, 2024 01:06 AM IST

Kuwait fire tragedy: The building housed low-paid, blue-collar workers, mostly from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and northern Indian states.

At least 40 Indian nationals were killed and dozens injured in Kuwait after a fire engulfed a six-storey building housing dozens of labourers. Officials said that most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation as the residents were asleep when the fire broke out early Wednesday. The fire broke out in a kitchen on one of the lower floors of the building in the Mangaf area in Kuwait's southern Ahmadi Governorate. According to Arab Times, most of the deceased were from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and north Indian states, with their age ranging from 20 to 50 years. Kuwait's deputy prime minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, who is also the minister of interior, said the fire mishap was a “result of the greed of the company and building owners”. The building is rented by the NBTC group, reportedly owned by Malayali businessman KG Abraham. Low-paid, blue-collar workers in the Gulf often live in overcrowded accommodations.

Kuwaiti firefighters and ambulances gather outside a building which was ingulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024.(AFP)
Kuwaiti firefighters and ambulances gather outside a building which was ingulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024.(AFP)

Here are the latest updates on Kuwait fire incident:

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called an urgent meeting of senior officials to review the situation. Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, Kirti Vardhan Singh, told reporters that he would leave for Kuwait soon after the meeting.
  2. The spokesperson for the ministry of external affairs earlier said that Kirti Vardhan Singh, on the directions of the prime minister, was urgently travelling to Kuwait to oversee the relief operations and coordinate with local authorities for early repatriation of mortal remains of those who have died in the incident.
  3. The Indian Embassy in Kuwait has put in place an emergency helpline number (+965-65505246) to connect for updates.
  4. Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, visited the site of the incident in Mangaf as well as the hospitals where the victims were admitted. He said the Embassy was in constant touch with relevant Kuwaiti law enforcement, fire service and health authorities for necessary action and emergency medical health care.
  5. According to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, Ambassador Swaika visited Al-Adan Hospital, Farwaniya Hospital, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, and Jahra Hospital where more than 50 Indian nationals were admitted.
  6. An expatriate organisation president, who was at the site of the fire, said that at least 11 deceased were from Kerala.
  7. Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to give necessary directions to the Indian Embassy to coordinate relief and rescue operation by getting in touch with the government of Kuwait.
  8. Concerns have been raised over the violations where large numbers of workers are crammed into one residential building. Kuwait's deputy PM has ordered police to arrest the owner of the building, the building's janitor, as well as the owner of the company responsible for the workers, the Kuwait Times reported.
  9. "What happened today is a result of the greed of the company and building owners," the deputy PM said, adding that he gave orders to Kuwait Municipality and the Public Authority for Manpower to launch immediate action to address similar violations.
  10. Several opposition leaders, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, expressed grief over the incident and urged the government to provide all possible assistance to the victims and their families.

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