Over 45 dead, mostly Indians, in fire at workers’ camp in Kuwait

Over 45 dead, mostly Indians, in fire at workers’ camp in Kuwait

Kuwait City/New Delhi, June 12 : Over 45 people have died, mostly Indian nationals, in a fire that broke out at a workers’ accommodation in Mangaf in Kuwait’s southern Ahmadi governorate on Wednesday, local media reports said.

According to the Kuwait Local website, “the majority of the deceased are Indian nationals”.

It said that several individuals were injured, some critically, and have been taken to nearby hospitals for necessary medical treatment.

The fire occurred at around 4 am on Wednesday morning, and is suspected to have originated from a gas cylinder stored in the watchman’s room. Nearly 160 workers, all employees of the same company, were residing in the camp at the time of the fire.

Kuwaiti Minister of Interior Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousef Al-Sabah visited the site and ordered arrest of the building owner, the janitor, and the owner of the company responsible for the workers.

Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, also visited the site and assured full assistance with official formalities and support for those hospitalized.

Sheikh Fahad has instructed the Kuwait Municipality and the Public Authority for Manpower to take immediate action to prevent overcrowding in residential buildings and ensure all safety requirements are in place to prevent future incidents.

Xinhua news agency quoted Mohammed Al-Gharib, director of public relations at the General Fire Force, as saying in a statement that the fire broke out in a six-story residential building densely populated with labour workers.

The majority of fatalities were attributed to smoke inhalation during sleep, while many of the residents were evacuated from the building, added Al-Gharib.

According to Kuwait Times, images from the scene showed soot blackening the exterior of the six-storey building which housed the workers.

Oil-rich Kuwait has large numbers of foreign workers, many of them from South and Southeast Asia, and mostly working in construction or service industries.

According to a source in the General Fire Department, the victims suffocated from rising smoke after the fire broke out on the ground floor.

Times Kuwait said the building where the tragedy struck is home to 196 labourers and many Malayalis. It is owned by the NBTC group under Malayali businessman KG Abraham.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar posted on X: “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.

“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.”

The Indian Ambassador Adarsh Swaika visited the injured at Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, Farwaniya Hospital and Al-Adan hospital.

The Indian Embassy in Kuwait said that of the 11 Indians admitted in Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, 10 are expected to be released today and one in hospital is reportedly stable. “The Indian Ambassador met with patients still in hospital and assured them of Embassy’s full support”.

At the Farwaniya Hospital, “six workers, expected to be mostly Indians, injured in today’s fire-incident were admitted”.

Hospital authorities confirmed that four of them have been released, one has been shifted to Jahra hospital and one in the ward is reportedly stable, the embassy said.

At the Al-Adan hospital over 30 Indian workers injured in the fire incident have been admitted. The Ambassador met a number of patients and assured them of full assistance from the Embassy.

The Indian embassy in Kuwait has activated an emergency helpline number, +965-65505246.

UNI

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