Kuwait fire: Emir vows action against those responsible

Around 50 people, a majority of them reportedly Indians, were killed in the fire in a six-storey building housing labourers

Ambassador of India to Kuwait Adarsh Swaika speaks to a victim in hospital (photo: @indembkwt/X)
Ambassador of India to Kuwait Adarsh Swaika speaks to a victim in hospital (photo: @indembkwt/X)


Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah on Wednesday ordered authorities to probe the massive fire at an apartment building housing foreign workers, mostly Indians, and vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the tragedy that killed at least 49 people.

The victims, a majority of them reportedly Indians, were killed in the fire early Wednesday in a six-storey building housing labourers in southern Kuwait, according to the latest reports.

Director-general of the forensic department major-general Eid Al-Owaihan said the majority of the deceased were Indian nationals from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and north Indian states.

In a condolence message sent to the families of the victims of the fire incident in Mangaf, the Emir expressed his sincere sorrow and deep sympathy and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

The Emir directed officials to follow up the causes of the fire outbreak and hold whomever was responsible accountable, the official Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported.

Kuwait's crown prince Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and prime minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah also condoled the casualties in the fire incident.

Earlier, Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, serving as the first deputy prime minister, minister of interior, and minister of defence, ordered police to arrest the owner of the Mangaf building where the fatal blaze broke out, the building's janitor, as well as the owner of the company responsible for the workers, pending the end of the criminal evidence personnel's examination of the scene, the Kuwait Times reported.

"What happened today is a result of the greed of the company and building owners," the minister said in a statement as he visited the fire scene.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) secretary-general Jasem Al-Budaiwi expressed his deep condolences to Kuwait over the deaths and injuries in the fire incident in the Gulf country, and expressed his prayers to bestow the deceased with mercy and the injured with speedy recovery, KUNA reported from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described the fire incident as "saddening" and said the Indian Embassy in Kuwait is closely monitoring the situation. At the direction of the PM, minister of state for external affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh is rushing to Kuwait to oversee assistance to Indians injured in the fire and to ensure early repatriation of the mortal remains of those killed.

Union external affairs minister S. Jaishankar expressed deep shock over the incident and said the Indian embassy in the Gulf nation will render "fullest assistance" to all concerned.

Indian ambassador to Kuwait Adarsh Swaika visited several hospitals, including those where the injured have been admitted, and has assured all help to the victims.

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