Indians among 49 killed in Kuwait building fire
   Date :13-Jun-2024

Indians among 49 killed in Kuwait  
A MASSIVE fire engulfed a multi-storey building in Kuwait housing foreign workers early on Wednesday, killing at least 49 people, mostly Indians, and injuring more than 50 others, according to officials. Most deaths were due to smoke inhalation while residents were sleeping, and a significant number of occupants were evacuated, they added.
The fire started in a kitchen in the six-storey building in the Mangaf area in Kuwait’s southern Ahmadi Governorate, officials said, adding that the building reportedly had 195 people living in it, who are workers of the same company.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said that the death toll from the tragic fire has reached 49, the Kuwait Times newspaper reported. The ministry said that criminal evidence department personnel are currently working on identifying the victims on site and revealing the cause of the fire and added that strict measures will be taken against building owners who violate the law. “Unfortunately, we received a report of a fire at... Exactly 6:00 am (0830 IST) in the Mangaf area,” Major General Eid Al-Owaihan, head of the interior ministry’s General Department of Criminal Evidence, said.
The majority of the deceased were Indian nationals from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and north Indian states. Their ages ranged between 20 and 50 years, he was quoted as saying by English language daily Arab Times. The building is rented by the NBTC group. Sources said that a few nationals of other countries were also among victims. Five firefighters sustained injuries during the rescue operation, they said. “In connection with the tragic fire accident involving Indian workers today, the Embassy has put in place an emergency helpline number: +965-65505246. All concerned are requested to connect over this helpline for updates. Embassy remains committed to render all possible assistance,” the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said in a post on X. Indians constitute 21 per cent (1 million) of the total population of Kuwait and 30 per cent of its workforce (approximately 9 lakhs).
Witnesses quoted by local media highlighted the closure of ground passages within the building as a contributing factor to the severity of the suffocation experienced by many victims. This obstruction hindered residents’ movement and further compounded the challenge of evacuating the building swiftly, they said. They said the sight of flames engulfing the building instilled fear among onlookers. One eyewitness recalled an incident where a resident worker leaped from the fifth floor, meeting a tragic end as he struck the balcony’s edge. Indian Ambassador Adarsh Swaika visited the fire incident site and later different hospitals (the Al-Adan hospital, Farwaniya Hospital, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital and Jahra Hospital) where over 50 injured Indian workers have been admitted.