• Thursday, July 25, 2024

ASIA

Forty Indians killed in Kuwait building fire; Modi condoles

More than 40 people were killed while many injured in the fire that broke out in a building which belongs to the NBTC group, owned by KG Abraham, a businessman from Kerala.

Kuwaiti firefighters and security forces gather outside a building which was ingulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. More than 35 people were killed and dozens injured in a building fire in an area heavily populated with foreign workers in Kuwait, the interior ministry said. (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP) (Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

FORTY Indians were among at least 49 people were killed on Wednesday (12) after a fire broke out in a building in Mangaf city in Ahmadi Governorate of Kuwait where foreign workers lived, Reuters reported. Scores more were injured and were receiving treatments in hospitals.

The nationalities of those who died were not immediately revealed by local authorities. The Indian ambassador visited the site of the fire as well as the hospitals to speak with the injured.

Kuwait’s deputy prime minister accused owners of properties of committing violations that contribute towards such tragedies.

At one hospital, more than 30 Indian citizens were admitted, the Indian embassy in Kuwait wrote on social media.

Several of the deceased Indians were from the southern Indian state of Kerala, a letter written by the state’s chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to India’s foreign minister that was shared with the press, said.

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Kuwait building fire
Kuwaiti security forces gather at a building which was ingulfed by fire, in Kuwait City, on June 12, 2024. ((Photo by YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images)

One Indian report added that around 195 workers were housed in the building and several of them hailed from the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala besides some other parts of India. The building, it added, belongs to the NBTC Group, Kuwait’s biggest construction company, owned by KG Abraham, a businessman from Kerala.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths, tweeting, “The fire mishap in Kuwait City is saddening. My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest. The Indian Embassy in Kuwait is closely monitoring the situation and working with the authorities there to assist the affected.”

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He also convened a high-level meeting at his official residence in New Delhi.

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said he was “deeply shocked” by the deaths and added the Indian embassy in Kuwait would extend the maximum support to the affected families.

“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,” he said on X.

The Indian Embassy in Kuwait issued a helpline number and urged those affected to connect over it.

Dr Adarsh Swaika, the Indian ambassador to Kuwait, met the injured in the hospital and also went to the site of the accident.

Kuwait’s deputy prime minister Fahad Yusuf Al-Sabah visited the site and ordered a police probe into the matter. He also asked the police to detain the owner of the building, janitor and employer of the workers who lived there till a criminal investigation into the incident was complete.

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