UAE condoles loss of lives in Kuwait fire

A fire broke out in a Labour housing facility in the Mangaf area of Kuwait early on Wednesday claiming at least 49 lives, out of which 42 were Indian nationals…reports Asian Lite News

UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a message of condolences to Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah expressing his sincere condolences and sympathy over victims of the fire outbreak in the Mangaf area and wishing a speedy recovery for the injured.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Presidential Court, also dispatched similar messages to the Kuwaiti Emir.

A fire broke out in a Labour housing facility in the Mangaf area of Kuwait early on Wednesday claiming at least 49 lives, out of which 42 were Indian nationals. Out of the 42 Indian nationals, 24 are Keralites.

Out of the total 49 foreign workers killed, some 42 victims were confirmed to be Indian nationals, mostly from Kerala.

A  senior official from the Department of Non-Resident Keralites Affairs of State of Kerala (NORKA ROOTS), K Ajith on Thursday told the media that apart from the 24 dead, seven are in a serious condition.

“We got this information from our help desk in Kuwait. The death toll confirmation comes out after all identification has been completed. There are still a few bodies which have not been identified and DNA tests will be conducted to establish their identity,” said Ajith.

He added that the official announcement would come from the Indian Embassy in Kuwait.

“Kerala Health Minister Veena George and senior bureaucrat Jeevan Babu will reach Kuwait later in the day. They will be coordinating for the speedy transportation of the bodies to Kerala,” added Ajith.

Norka is the state-run body which looks after the affairs of Non-Resident Keralites and it has help desks in various countries.

Meanwhile, apart from the Rs 5 lakh compensation announced for the next of kin of the deceased by the Kerala government, business magnates MA Yusuf Ali and Ravi Pillai will be giving aid to the families also.

While MA Yusuf Ali will give Rs 5 lakh each, Ravi Pillai has announced he will be giving Rs 2 lakh each and this will be directed through the Norka department.

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh arrived in Mangaf to oversee assistance for those injured and coordinate with local authorities for early repatriation of mortal remains of the deceased, Indian Embassy in Kuwait said.

“On the directions of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, MoS Kirti Vardhan Singh arrives in Kuwait to oversee assistance to those injured in fire tragedy & coordinate with local authorities for early repatriation of mortal remains of those who have died in this unfortunate incident,” the Indian Embassy in Kuwait posted on X.

Earlier on Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya about the fire tragedy and urged the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those who lost their lives.

EAM Jaishankar, in a post on X, said, “Spoke to Kuwaiti FM Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on the fire tragedy in Kuwait. 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.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a review meeting on the fire tragedy and announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the families of deceased Indian nationals from the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.

PM Modi also expressed his deep sorrow at the unfortunate incident and extended condolences to the families of the deceased, wishing speedy recovery for those injured.

Emir directs probe

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, has directed the country’s authorities to find the cause behind the fire.

The state-owned Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that Kuwait’s ruler sent his condolences to the families of the victims of the unfortunate fire accident that resulted in the death and injury of dozens.

“His Highness directed officials to immediately follow up to determine the causes of the outbreak of this fire and hold those responsible for its occurrence accountable so that such an unfortunate incident is not repeated in the future,” the agency said, adding that the ruler shares the grief and pain of the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.

The Indian Embassy in Kuwait is operating an emergency helpline number (+965-65505246) in connection with the tragedy.

Kuwait’s Ministry of Health also released a statement on Wednesday afternoon that said, “The Ministry of Health has so far dealt with 43 cases through the accident departments in a number of hospitals, in a building fire incident in Mangaf, of which 4 cases arrived dead.”

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