At least 40 Indians among 49 killed in Kuwait fire; PM Modi, Rahul express grief

At least 40 Indians among 49 killed in Kuwait fire; PM Modi, Rahul express grief

Kuwait: In a tragic incident, at least 40 Indians were among 49 people who lost their lives after a devastating fire broke out in a building housing 195 migrant workers in southern Kuwait’s Mangaf area, officials said on Wednesday. Over fifty other people were injured in the incident.

The total number of people killed in the Al-Mangaf building was 49 and 42 of them are learnt to be Indians; the remaining ones are Pakistani, Filipino, Egyptian and Nepali nationals, they said.

At 4:30 am, a fire started from a kitchen in one of the lower floors of the building, and quickly spread to other floors, trapping many inside.

The death toll is expected to increase further as some of the critically injured workers have been battling for life.

The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that the fire has been brought under control and authorities are currently searching for evidence to determine its cause.

The building is home to around 160 employees of a supermarket chain that is owned by an NRI businessman from Kerala. A majority of the employees were Indian citizens.

“I woke up startled following screams and sudden noises,” a witness, Mohammed Ibrahim Imran, who lives in an adjacent building and belongs to Tolichiowki in Hyderabad told Siasat.com.

“It was pathetic to witness some workers simply jump from the building to escape the fire and lose their life,” he added.

Workers belonging to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh also resided in the same building. However, there is no update on their status so far.

According to Kerala-based media house channel, Onmanorama, the casualties include individuals from Indian states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. However, an official confirmation from authorities is still awaited.

Taking to X, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grave concerns over the death of over 40 people and said that the Indian Embassy in Kuwait is actively monitoring the situation and collaborating with local authorities to provide assistance.

“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,” he said in a post on X.

Minister of State Kirti Vardhan Singh is urgently travelling to Kuwait to provide aid to Indians injured in a fire and ensure the swift repatriation of those who have died.

Singh is leaving for Kuwait at the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said on X.

Meanwhile, India’s Ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, visited the Al-Adan hospital where over 30 injured Indian workers have been admitted.

Swaika also visited the Mangaf fire incident site to assess the situation, reported by ANI.

Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar expressed condolences and assured full support from the Indian Embassy.

“Deeply shocked by the news of the fire incident in Kuwait City. There are reportedly over 40 deaths and over 50 have been hospitalised. Our Ambassador has gone to the camp. We are awaiting further information,” he said.

He added, “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.”

“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. The embassy remains committed to rendering all possible assistance,” the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said in a post in X.

Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister Fahad Yusuf Al-Sabah has ordered a police inquiry into the building fire and has imposed severe sanctions on the building owner.

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah, has ordered authorities to investigate a massive fire and pledged to hold those responsible accountable.

Crown Prince Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah expressed condolences for the deaths and prayed for the swift recovery of the injured.