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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Fire kills 40 Indian workers in Kuwait

They were among 49 people killed in the blaze at a residential building in Mangaf on Wednesday, local authorities say

At least 40 Indians died when a massive fire broke out at a residential building in the Kuwaiti city of Mangaf on Wednesday, according to a statement released by India’s Foreign Ministry.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country’s embassy in Kuwait was closely monitoring the situation and working with local authorities to assist those affected by the “saddening accident.”

“My thoughts are with all those who have lost their near and dear ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest,” Modi wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

Indian Minister of State Shri Kirti Vardhan Singh immediately traveled to Kuwait to secure the early repatriation of the victims’ remains, as well as to ensure that injured parties receive medical assistance, the foreign ministry said.

Videos circulating on social media show flames engulfing the lower part of a six-story building that had housed workers, and thick, black smoke spreading across the upper floors.

The overall death toll relating to the blaze has reached 49, Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior reported, adding that “many others” had been injured in the accident. According to Kuwaiti Health Minister Ahmad Al-Awadhi, 56 people were hospitalized.

Emir Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah has ordered an investigation into the cause of the blaze, insisting that anyone found responsible would be held accountable.

Kuwait’s first deputy prime minister and interior minister, Sheikh Fahad Yousuf Al-Sabah, promised that apartment buildings would be inspected for violations“without warning” following the incident.

The deputy prime minister accused property owners of greed, saying that violations of building standards had caused Wednesday’s tragedy.

Kuwaiti security forces at a residential building that was engulfed by fire in the Kuwaiti city of Mangaf on June 12, 2024.

© AFP / Yasser Al-Zayyat

“Unfortunately the greed of the property owners is what led to this; they violate regulations and this is the result of the violations,” he told Reuters.

Kuwait has a large community of migrant workers who outnumber the local population of nearly 4.3 million people. According to statistics tracked by the US state-run National Library of Medicine, foreign nationals account for 60% of the country’s population and 78% of its entire labor force.

June 13, 2024 at 02:56PM

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