Tragic Fire in Kuwait Claims 49 Lives, Including 40 Indians

A residential building fire in Mangaf, Kuwait, kills 49 and injures 50, prompting swift action from the Indian government to assist victims and their families.

India Rushes Aid and Repatriation Efforts as Migrant Worker Living Conditions Come Under Scrutiny

Mangaf, Kuwait – A devastating fire at a residential building in the Kuwaiti city of Mangaf has claimed the lives of at least 49 people, including 40 Indian nationals, according to India’s foreign ministry. The blaze, which erupted on Wednesday, has also left 50 people injured, with the wounded being treated at five government hospitals.

In response to the tragedy, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed Minister of State Shri Kirti Vardhan Singh to travel immediately to Kuwait. Singh’s mission is to expedite the repatriation of the deceased’s mortal remains and provide medical assistance to the injured.

The fire broke out in a building housing 196 workers, many of whom were reportedly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Nepal. Local media suggest that the building may have been overcrowded, exacerbating the tragedy. Video footage shared on social media showed flames engulfing the lower part of the building, with thick black smoke billowing from the upper floors.

Most of the Indian casualties hail from the southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The Ministry of External Affairs reported that, of the 176 Indian workers in the facility, 33 are hospitalized, 45 have died, and the remainder are safe.

Three Filipinos have also been confirmed dead, according to AFP, with Filipino and Nepali workers among the injured. The overcrowded conditions in such accommodations have long been a point of concern, with human rights groups frequently highlighting the poor living conditions of migrant workers in Kuwait.

A senior police officer, speaking to state TV, indicated that a “large number” of people were in the building at the time of the fire. “Dozens were rescued, but unfortunately there were many deaths as a result of inhaling smoke from the fire,” he said. Warnings about overcrowding in similar accommodations are common, he added.

Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf al-Sabah blamed property owners’ greed and violations of building standards for the tragedy. “Unfortunately, the greed of the property owners is what led to this,” Sheikh al-Sabah told Reuters. “They violate regulations, and this is the result of the violations.”

Tragic Fire in Kuwait Claims 49 Lives, Including 40 Indians

In a significant move to aid the victims, a special Indian Air Force aircraft carrying the mortal remains of 45 Indian victims departed for Kochi, Kerala. MoS Singh, who coordinated with Kuwaiti authorities for swift repatriation, was on board the aircraft. The flight is expected to reach Kochi in the morning of June 14, before proceeding to Delhi. The deceased hail from various Indian states, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Haryana.

Upon his arrival in Kuwait, Minister Singh visited the hospitals where injured Indians are being treated. He interacted with the patients and ensured they received the necessary medical attention. Hospital authorities reported that all patients are safe and will be discharged progressively based on their medical condition.

Tragic Fire in Kuwait Claims 49 Lives, Including 40 Indians

Singh also met with Kuwaiti officials, including the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence & Interior, Sheikh Fahad Yousef Saud Al-Sabah, who conveyed condolences on behalf of the Kuwaiti leadership and assured full support for the repatriation process and medical care for the injured. Meetings were also held with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Health Minister of Kuwait, who reiterated their commitment to support the affected individuals.

The Indian Embassy in Kuwait has been in constant contact with local authorities, providing all necessary assistance to those injured and those safely evacuated. The Embassy is operating a 24/7 helpline to assist the families of the deceased and injured, ensuring they receive regular updates and support.

The tragic incident has once again highlighted the precarious living conditions of migrant workers in Kuwait, who make up two-thirds of the population and are crucial to the country’s economy, particularly in the construction and domestic sectors.

India mourns the loss of its citizens and stands in solidarity with the affected families during this difficult time. The swift response from the Indian government underscores its commitment to the welfare of its nationals abroad.

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