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Fire: Kuwait Buiding Fire : Most Kuwait victims died in sleep after inhaling smoke | Delhi News

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NEW DELHI/KOCHI: Government officials did not share any figure on the number of casualties in Kuwait till late because many of the victims were yet to be identified. Sources said identification may take some time as, like elsewhere in the Gulf, passports of foreign workers in Kuwait are kept by their employers. A large proportion of the million-strong Indian community in Kuwait consists of unskilled and semi-skilled workers.
A senior Kuwaiti official was quoted as saying many of the victims were Indian nationals from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and north Indian states.According to officials in Kuwait, most deaths were caused by smoke inhalation while the victims were sleeping. A significant number of occupants were evacuated, they added.
The fire started in a kitchen on the ground floor of the six-storey building in the Mangaf area in Kuwait’s southern Ahmadi Governorate, officials said, adding that the building reportedly had nearly 200 people living in it, who were workers of the same company.
Reports said a preliminary investigation suggested that a short circuit led to the fire and it quickly spread to other floors. A few individuals, who leaped out of the building, were among those killed. Others succumbed to burns or were suffocated due to smoke inhalation.
EAM S Jaishankar expressed shock, and said the Indian embassy would render the fullest assistance to all concerned.
In a statement, the Kuwaiti interior ministry said the death toll had reached 49, the Kuwait Times newspaper reported. The ministry said criminal evidence department personnel were working on identifying the victims on site and added that strict measures would be taken against building owners who violated the law.
The deceased were aged between 20 and 50 years, Major General Eid Al Owaihan, head of the interior ministry’s General Department of Criminal Evidence, was quoted as saying by Arab Times. Sources said five firefighters sustained injuries during the rescue operation.
The building was rented by NBTC group, a leading firm in import of building and construction material in Kuwait. Malayali businessman K G Abraham is its partner and managing director while its chairman is Mohammed N Al Baddah.
The Indian embassy has put in place an emergency helpline number, +965-65505246. Indians constitute 21% (1 million) of the total population of Kuwait and 30% of its total workforce.
The Emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Meshal Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah ordered authorities to probe the massive fire and vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the tragedy.




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