40 Indians killed, 50 Injured in Kuwait building fire

Thursday, 13 June 2024 - 6:34

June 12, 2024 - A devastating fire broke out in a building housing workers in Mangaf city, Kuwait, resulting in the deaths of 40 Indian workers and injuries to 50 others, according to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Key Points:
Origin and Spread: The fire began at around 6 am local time (9 am IST) in the kitchen of a six-storey building. The structure housed nearly 195 workers, all employed by the same company. The majority of the fatalities occurred due to smoke inhalation as residents were asleep when the fire started.

Casualties and Response: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level review meeting and announced a compensation of ₹ 2 lakh for the families of the deceased. He extended his condolences and wished a speedy recovery for the injured.

Government Action: Following the Prime Minister's directive, Minister of State Shri Kirti Vardhan Singh is set to travel to Kuwait to facilitate the early repatriation of the bodies and to provide medical assistance to the injured.

Medical Treatment: The injured are receiving treatment in five government hospitals in Kuwait: Adan, Jaber, Farwaniya, Mubarak Al Kabeer, and Jahra. According to hospital authorities, most of the admitted patients are in stable condition.

Diplomatic Engagement: External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar communicated with his Kuwaiti counterpart, Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya, who assured a thorough investigation into the incident. Jaishankar also emphasized the need for the swift repatriation of the deceased.

Support from the Indian Embassy: The Indian embassy in Kuwait is actively coordinating with local authorities and has established a helpline (+965-65505246) for family members seeking information. Indian Ambassador Adarsh Swaika visited the scene of the fire and the hospitals where the injured are admitted.

Local Investigations: Kuwait's Emir, Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, has ordered an investigation into the fire. Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, the First Deputy Prime Minister, has mandated the arrest of the building's owner, the janitor, and the owner of the responsible company, pending the criminal investigation.

Population and Workforce Impact: Indians form 21% of Kuwait's population (1 million people) and 30% of its workforce (900,000 people). The fire also claimed lives of individuals from Pakistan, the Philippines, Egypt, and Nepal.

This incident highlights the need for stringent safety protocols in worker accommodations and has prompted swift action from both Indian and Kuwaiti authorities.

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