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Kuwait fire: 45 bodies of Indians repatriated, building owner announces job, ₹8 lakh each as emergency aid for dependents

The deadly fire in the labor-housing facility has till now claimed at least 50 lives, of which mostly are Indians. Over 50 other workers have also been injured, with some in critical condition.

Fatima hasan 14 June 2024 08:26

Kuwait fire

As many as 45 Indians lost their lives in a deadly fire that engulfed a building, housing migrant workers in the southern part of Kuwait on June 12, following which the building owner announced jobs and 8 lakh each as emergency aid for dependents of the deceased.

A special Indian Air Force plane, C-130J, brought the mortal remains of the deceased to Kerala in the early hours of June 14.

Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, who traveled to Kuwait for the swift repatriation of bodies was also onboard the aircraft, the Indian embassy said earlier.

Kuwaiti authorities said they have identified the bodies of 45 Indians and three Filipino nationals. As some of the bodies were charred beyond recognition, Kuwaiti authorities conducted DNA tests as part of the identification process.

According to preliminary investigations by Kuwaiti officials, the fire was caused by an “electrical circuit”. The presence of flammable materials used as partitions in the building further contributed to the rapid spread of smoke, leading to the suffocation of many victims. The victims were unable to escape to the rooftop as it was locked, according to Kuwait Fire Department Col Sayed Al-Mousawi.

The housing facility had 176 Indian workers, of which 45 died and 33 were hospitalized, the embassy said. The rest are said to be safe.

While 23 bodies were from Kerala, seven were from Tamil Nadu, and three from Andhra Pradesh. Other victims include three from Uttar Pradesh, two from Odisha, and one each from Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Haryana, said the Indian embassy in Kuwait.

Kuwait Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah told the media, that the NBTC Group which employed the workers killed in the fire, will provide financial aid and employment to the dependents of the victims along with other allowances.

Naser M. Al Baddah & Partner General Trading & Contracting Company Group is one of the biggest construction companies in Kuwait.

The announcement was made after Kuwait Emir issued an order asking to immediately provide aid to the bereaved families.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who took stock of the situation earlier announced a compensation of ₹2 lakh for the families of the deceased from the PM relief fund..

Prominent NRI businessman and chairman of UAE-based Lulu Group MA Yusuff Ali has also announced ₹5 lakh each for the families of the deceased. A sum of 5 lakh for each of the families of the deceased will be paid as part of this relief fund, a statement released by the group in Abu Dhabi said.

Approximately two dozen deceased belonged to the state of Kerala, among them was one Muralidharan Nair, who had been working in Kuwait for 32 years. He was currently working as a senior supervisor in the company.

According to a report by Al-Jazeera, he visited his family last December for two months with a plan to quit his job but the company called him back.

The family of another victim, 56-year-old Saju Varghese, found out about the fire from television and social media. They received confirmation of his death from friends and relatives in Kuwait. Varghese had been working in the Gulf nation for the past 21 years and was going to visit Kerala later this month to plan for his daughter’s higher education.

Another victim, 62-year-old Himat Rai from Hoshiarpur, Punjab was the sole breadwinner of his family. His family is in a state of shock after they heard the tragic news.

The building’s owner, the owner of the company and the building’s janitor have been detained by Kuwaiti officials over potential negligence. The authorities have also threatened to close the buildings if similar violations are found somewhere else in the city.

The devastating fire started in the kitchen of the six-story building just after 4 am when the majority of the 196 all-male residents of the building were asleep.


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