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Kuwait Fire Tragedy: Deputy PM Cites ‘Greed’ for 40 Indian Deaths; Modi Convenes Urgent Meeting | Top 10

Deputy PM Blames 'Greed' for Fire; Indian Officials Mobilize for Relief and Repatriation Efforts

Kuwait Fire Tragedy: 40 Indians Dead, Dozens Injured; PM Modi Calls Urgent Meeting

At least 40 Indian nationals were killed and dozens injured in Kuwait after a fire engulfed a six-storey building housing dozens of laborers. Officials reported that most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation as the residents were asleep when the fire broke out early Wednesday morning. The tragic incident occurred in a kitchen on one of the lower floors of the building, located in the Mangaf area of Kuwait’s southern Ahmadi Governorate. According to the Arab Times, most of the deceased were from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and various northern Indian states, with ages ranging from 20 to 50 years. Kuwait’s deputy prime minister, Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, who is also the minister of interior, attributed the fire mishap to the “greed of the company and building owners.” The building is rented by the NBTC group, which is reportedly owned by Malayali businessman KG Abraham. In the Gulf, low-paid, blue-collar workers often live in overcrowded accommodations, exacerbating such tragic outcomes.

Here are the latest updates on the Kuwait fire incident:

  1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Response: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an urgent meeting with senior officials to review the situation. Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs, Kirti Vardhan Singh, informed reporters that he would leave for Kuwait soon after the meeting. The urgency of the meeting underscores the gravity of the situation and the Indian government’s commitment to providing timely assistance.
  2. Immediate Actions by the Ministry of External Affairs: A spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs stated that Kirti Vardhan Singh, acting on the prime minister’s directions, was urgently traveling to Kuwait. His mission is to oversee relief operations and coordinate with local authorities to expedite the repatriation of the mortal remains of those who perished in the incident. This swift action highlights the government’s proactive stance in handling the crisis.
  3. Emergency Helpline Established: The Indian Embassy in Kuwait has established an emergency helpline number (+965-65505246) for people to call for updates. This measure is crucial for families and friends seeking information about their loved ones and the ongoing relief efforts.
  4. Ambassador Adarsh Swaika’s Involvement: Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, visited the site of the incident in Mangaf and the hospitals where the victims were admitted. He stated that the Embassy was in constant contact with relevant Kuwaiti law enforcement, fire service, and health authorities to ensure necessary actions and emergency medical care. This hands-on approach by the ambassador is aimed at providing immediate support and ensuring the victims receive the required medical attention.
  5. Hospital Visits and Victim Support: According to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait, Ambassador Swaika visited several hospitals, including Al-Adan Hospital, Farwaniya Hospital, Mubarak Al-Kabeer Hospital, and Jahra Hospital, where more than 50 Indian nationals were admitted. These visits are part of the broader effort to offer support and monitor the condition of the injured.
  6. Community Response: An expatriate organization president at the fire site reported that at least 11 of the deceased were from Kerala. The expatriate community is playing a significant role in providing support and assistance to the victims and their families during this difficult time.
  7. Response from Kerala Chief Minister: Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has requested External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to issue necessary directions to the Indian Embassy to coordinate relief and rescue operations by liaising with the Kuwaiti government. This request emphasizes the need for coordinated efforts to address the needs of the victims and their families.
  8. Concerns Over Housing Violations: There are growing concerns about the violations where large numbers of workers are crammed into a single residential building. Kuwait’s deputy PM has ordered the police to arrest the building owner, the building’s janitor, and the owner of the company responsible for the workers. The Kuwait Times reported this move, reflecting the deputy PM’s determination to hold those responsible accountable.
  9. Statements from Kuwait’s Deputy PM: Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah stated, “What happened today is a result of the greed of the company and building owners.” He added that he has instructed Kuwait Municipality and the Public Authority for Manpower to launch immediate actions to address similar violations. These statements underline the severity of the negligence and the need for regulatory oversight.
  10. Political Reactions in India: Several opposition leaders, including Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, expressed their grief over the incident. They urged the government to provide all possible assistance to the victims and their families. This call for action highlights the widespread impact of the tragedy and the collective demand for effective governmental intervention.

The fire in Kuwait’s Mangaf area is a tragic reminder of the dangerous living conditions faced by many low-paid, blue-collar workers in the Gulf. The swift response from the Indian government, the involvement of the Indian Embassy, and the support from the expatriate community demonstrate a concerted effort to manage the crisis and support the victims and their families.

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