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Kuwaiti authorities identify bodies of 45 Indians; vows prompt probe

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: June 14, 2024 01:15 IST
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Kuwait Thursday said authorities have identified the bodies of 45 Indians and three Filipino nationals killed in the tragic fire incident in a building housing foreign workers as the Gulf Kingdom vowed to promptly investigate the incident and assured full support in repatriating the mortal remains of the victims.

IMAGE: Union Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh reaches the Jaber Hospital to meet the Indians injured in the Mangaf fire incident, in Kuwait on Thursday. Photograph: ANI Photo

At least 49 foreign workers were killed and 50 others injured in the fire on Wednesday at the seven-storey building where 196 migrant workers were staying in the southern city of Mangaf.

Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, serving as the First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Interior, and Minister of Defence, said that authorities have identified 48 bodies, among which 45 are of Indians and three are of Filipino nationality, English language daily Arab Times reported.


The efforts are still underway to determine the identity of one remaining body, he added.

Kuwait Fire Force on Thursday said the deadly fire was caused by an electrical short circuit. In a statement, the force said that the conclusion was reached after field examination of the scene and the building where the fire broke out on Wednesday.

Kuwaiti authorities are conducting DNA tests on the bodies of those killed in the devastating fire incident in southern Kuwait's Mangaf area and an Indian Air Force aircraft is on standby to bring back the mortal remains of Indians killed in the incident, officials said in New Delhi on Thursday.

Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, who reached Kuwait to oversee assistance to Indians injured in the fire and to ensure early repatriation of mortal remains of those killed, met Kuwait's Foreign Minister Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya who assured full support and vowed to promptly investigate the tragedy.

Later, he called on First Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad, who conveyed condolences on behalf of the Emir and his instructions to ensure all necessary assistance and support.

Singh conveyed Prime Minister Narendra Modi's greetings to the Emir and thanked the deputy prime minister and the leadership of Kuwait for pro-active facilitation being provided by Kuwaiti authorities, the Indian mission said.

He also met Health Minister Dr. Ahmad Abdelwahab Ahmad Al-Awadi who briefed him on steps taken to ensure speedy recovery of Indians under his personal supervision. Singh thanked him for exceptional medical care and attention being provided to the Indians.

Singh also visited Jaber hospital, Mubarak Al Kabeer hospital, Adan hospital, Farwaniya hospital and Jahra hospital where he met injured Indians and assured them all support from the Indian government.

Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber al-Sabah has issued directives for the distribution of financial assistance to the families of the deceased, Sheikh Fahad said, without mentioning the quantum of the compensation.

Additionally, the emir has ordered the preparation of military aircraft to repatriate the bodies of deceased Indians back to their homeland.

Meanwhile, a Kuwaiti citizen and several foreigners were arrested in connection with charges of manslaughter and causing injuries due to negligence in security and safety measures following the fire incident.

"The Public Prosecution has mandated the provisional detention of a Kuwaiti citizen and several expats in connection with charges of manslaughter and causing injuries due to negligence in security and safety measures, following a fire incident in the Al-Mangaf area," the Arab Times reported.

Sheikh Fahad is heading an overall inspection campaign on illegal properties in many areas in Kuwait on Thursday.

The minister, accompanied by the Minister of Public Works and Minister of Municipality Dr. Nora Al-Mashaan began their inspection campaign in Al-Mangaf, Al-Mahboula, Khaitan, and Jileeb Al-Shuyoukh, the paper said.

The interior ministry, Kuwait Municipality, Kuwait Fire Force, ministry of electricity and water and public authority for manpower took part in the campaign.

The minister has warned that any building violation would be addressed without prior warning as of Thursday.

“As of Thursday, the Municipality and its teams will respond to all violations at all apartment buildings without prior warning,” the minister told reporters while inspecting the fire site.

The owner of the affected building will be kept in custody until investigations into the causes of the fire are over, the minister added.

Meanwhile, Kuwait's public prosecutor has launched an investigation into the incident.

The probe aims to uncover the circumstances behind the incident and what might have triggered the deadly fire, the public prosecutor said on X.

In a statement, the prosecution said that a special team had examined the fire scene and visited the hospitals where the casualties had been taken to question the injured.

Head of investigations at Kuwait fire department Col Sayed Al-Mousawi earlier said that the team investigating the causes of the fire found that an inflammable material was used as partitions between apartments and also between rooms, which caused the huge black clouds of smoke.

He said that many of the victims suffocated while trying to run down the stairs because they were filled with smoke, adding that the victims could not go to the rooftop because the door was locked.

Separately, the Kuwait Municipality announced that the engineering audit and follow-up department in the Farwaniya Governorate has closed seven basements and issued 13 violations.

In an official statement, the municipality confirmed that efforts to close non-compliant basements are ongoing, the paper said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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