Kuwait: Around 40 Indians killed, over 50 injured in devastating fire

The total number of people killed in the Al-Mangaf building is 49 and 42 of them are learnt to be Indians, say officials

The building where the fire broke out, in Mangaf, Kuwait (photo: PTI)
The building where the fire broke out, in Mangaf, Kuwait (photo: PTI)


Around 40 Indians were killed and over 50 injured in a devastating fire that broke out at dawn in a building housing around 195 migrant workers in southern Kuwait's Mangaf area, officials said on Wednesday, 12 June.

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

"In an unfortunate and tragic fire incident earlier today in a Labour housing facility in Mangaf area of Kuwait, around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 injured," the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement late on Wednesday night.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who described the incident as "saddening", reviewed the situation at a meeting with external affairs minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra and principal secretary to PM PK Mishra among others.

Following the meeting, the prime minister announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the deceased Indian nationals from the PM Relief Fund and directed that the government should extend all possible assistance.

External affairs minister spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on the phone and urged him for the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those killed.

"Spoke to Kuwaiti FM Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on the fire tragedy in Kuwait. He was apprised of the efforts made by Kuwaiti authorities in that regard. Was assured that the incident would be fully investigated and that responsibility will be fixed," Jaishankar said on 'X'.

"Urged the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those who lost their lives. He emphasized that those injured were getting the requisite medical attention," he said.

Minister of state for external affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh is urgently travelling to Kuwait following a direction from PM Modi to oversee assistance to Indians injured in the fire and to ensure early repatriation of mortal remains of those killed.

The officials cited above said most of the Indian victims are from Kerala.

"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. The Indian Embassy in Kuwait is closely monitoring the situation and working with the authorities there to assist the affected," Modi said on 'X'.

In its statement, the MEA said the Indian embassy in the Gulf nation is ascertaining the full details from the Kuwaiti authorities.

"Those injured are presently admitted in five government hospitals (Adan, Jaber, Farwaniya, Mubarak Al Kabeer and Jahra) in Kuwait and receiving proper medical care and attention," it said.

"According to hospital authorities, most of the admitted patients are stable," it said.

Following the incident, Ambassador of India in Kuwait Adarsh Swaika immediately visited the incident site and also the hospitals to ascertain the welfare of the Indian nationals.

"The embassy continues to coordinate with local authorities to assist Indian nationals who have been injured in this unfortunate incident and extend all possible support. The embassy is receiving full cooperation from the Kuwaiti authorities," the MEA said.

"Our Embassy in Kuwait continues to remain in touch with local authorities to provide relief to those affected. The Embassy has established a helpline +965-65505246 (WhatsApp and regular call) for family members to get in touch," it said.

The fire in Al-Mangaf building was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4.30 am and most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation, Kuwaiti media reported, adding the fire started in a kitchen.

Kuwait's Interior Ministry in a statement confirmed that the death toll reached 49.

Construction firm NBTC group rented the building for the stay of more than 195 workers, most of them Indians from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and northern states, the Kuwaiti media said.

The NBTC group is partly owned by an Indian, officials said.

Kuwait's Interior Ministry said criminal evidence department personnel are currently working on identifying the victims and revealing the cause of the fire.

It said strict measures will be taken against building owners who violate laid down norms.

"Unfortunately, we received a report of a fire at... exactly 6:00 am (0300 GMT) in the Mangaf area," Major General Eid Al-Owaihan, head of the Interior Ministry's General Department of Criminal Evidence said.

Kuwait's health ministry said the injured were admitted to several hospitals, with 21 of them sent to Al-Adan Hospital, six to Farwaniya Hospital, one to Al-Amiri and 11 to Mubarak Hospital.

"Amb @AdarshSwaika visited the Al-Adan hospital where over 30 Indian workers injured in today's fire incident have been admitted. He met a number of patients and assured them of full assistance from the Embassy," the Indian embassy said on 'X'.

"Almost all are reported to be stable by hospital authorities," it said.

The Indian embassy said it is in touch with Kuwaiti law enforcement authorities, fire service and health department for necessary action.

Interior Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah ordered an investigation into the fire incident and issued directions to apprehend the owner and janitor of Al-Mangaf building.

"What happened today is a result of the greed of the company and building owners," Al-Sabah was quoted as saying by Kuwait Times.

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