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Saturday July 20, 2024

Kuwait fire kills 49 Indian migrant workers

By Ag Afp
June 13, 2024
Police authorities inspect the burnt building housing workers in the city of Mangaf in Kuwait’s southern Ahmadi Governorate on June 12, 2024. — Reuters
Police authorities inspect the burnt building housing workers in the city of Mangaf in Kuwait’s southern Ahmadi Governorate on June 12, 2024. — Reuters

KUWAIT CITY: A fire in Kuwait killed 49 people, all Indian nationals, when it ripped through a building housing nearly 200 foreign workers on Wednesday, the government said.

The blaze, which broke out in the six-storey building south of Kuwait City at around dawn, also left dozens injured, the health ministry said. Flames engulfed the lower floors as black smoke poured out of the upper-storey windows, unverified images posted on social media showed.

The interior ministry revised the death toll up to 49, from 35 issued earlier, after forensic teams scoured the charred building.

“The number of deaths as a result of the fire in the workers´ building... has risen to 49,” the ministry said.

The official Kuwait News Agency quoted Health Minister Ahmed al-Awadhi as saying hospitals had received 56 people injured in the fire in the Mangaf area, which is heavily populated with migrant labourers.

The building, whose exterior was blackened with soot, housed 196 workers, according to information given to the interior minister by their employer.

Oil-rich Kuwait has large numbers of foreign workers, many of them from South and Southeast Asia, and mostly working in construction or service industries.

A source in the fire department said the victims suffocated from rising smoke after the fire started at the building´s base.

A foreign ministry statement said later the “tragic” fire had “claimed the lives of 49 citizens of the Indian community residing in the State of Kuwait”. India´s Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the disaster “saddening” in a post on social media platform X.