• Thursday, July 25, 2024

ASIA

Kuwait fire: DNA test to identify bodies of charred Indians; air force plane to take them home

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya and said he was assured that the incident would be fully probed.

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

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE remains of some of the Indian workers who were killed in a deadly fire in a building in Mangat city of Kuwait on Wednesday (12) were charred beyond recognition and DNA test was underway to establish their identities, the country’s minister of state for external affairs, Kirti Vardhan Singh, said.

The minister, who took charge on Tuesday (11), rushed to the Gulf country soon after and said an Indian Air Force aircraft was ready to bring the bodies back home, NDTV reported. They will be handed over their respective families after the identification is done.

“As soon as the bodies are identified, their kin will be informed and our Air Force plane will bring the bodies back,” he said.

Read: India opposition MP seeks decent work conditions for Indian migrant workers

At least 49 people were reportedly killed in the blaze and of them, 40 were believed to be Indians.

The fire started in a kitchen in the six-storey building early on Wednesday and spread fast. Nearly 200 people lived in the apartment and according to officials, most of the deaths were caused due to asphyxiation in sleep.

Read: Forty Indians killed in Kuwait building fire; Modi condoles

Prime minister Narendra Modi condoled the deaths and held a high-level meeting at his official residence in New Delhi on Wednesday night. He also announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh (£1,871) each for the families of those killed in the fire. He also wished a speedy recovery of those injured — around 50. The survivors were helping the officials to identify charred bodies.

Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, who also expressed shock over the incident, spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya.

“Was assured that the incident would be fully investigated and that responsibility will be fixed,” he said on X.

“Urged the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those who lost their lives. He emphasized that those injured were getting the requisite medical attention,” Jaishankar added.

The Indian embassy in Kuwait launched a helpline +965-65505246 for family members of the victims to reach out. The first list of victims’ names is expected to be out later on Thursday (13).

The Indian ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, visited the site of the fire on Wednesday besides meeting the injured in the hospital.

The Kuwaiti administration began a probe into how more than 160 people were living in the building. Most of the Indians who were killed in the incident were from the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Indians constitute 21 per cent of the total population of Kuwait and 30 per cent of its total workforce.

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