Dozens of Indian workers dead in Kuwait labour camp fire

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More than 35 people died when a fire broke out in a building housing workers in Kuwait early on Wednesday, officials said.

At least 35 bodies were still inside the building after the fire was put out, head of the criminal evidence department at the Interior Ministry, Major General Eid al-Owaihan, said.

The Health Ministry said at least 43 people have been transferred to hospitals for treatment and four have died.

Search teams continue to inspect the building to look for other victims and investigations are ongoing into the reason behind the fire.

Local media said the fire broke out in a six-floor building overcrowded with workers in al-Mangaf area, south of the capital.

Thirteen of the 14 Keralites, who died in a deadly fire that devastated a building in Kuwait’s southern city of Al-Mangaf, have been identified.

The fire that broke out in a labour camp in Kuwait killed 49 employees attached to a Keralite-owned company. The families on receiving the information were devasted.

“My son was a teacher at an engineering college here and it was only last month that he went to Kuwait. He got his salary on the 5th of this month and it was transferred the same day to us. We spoke to him on Tuesday night also,” said a grieving father, George Pothen at Pathanamthitta.

“When the news of the fire came on TV, I knew it was the same company where my brother worked. We tried to believe that my brother would be safe, but it was not. We got the news that he passed away when his name was flashed on the TV channels. We are yet to tell the news to our aged mother,” grieved a woman.

 

Stephin Abraham, 29, who lived in Pampady in Kottayam, was an engineer and had been working in Kuwait for the past six years.

“He was my tenant for a few years and was building his own home. He was here six months back to see the progress of his house,” said the landlord.

The company is owned by K.G. Abraham, a Keralite who has varied business interests in the Middle East and also owns a five-star hotel in Kochi.

The fire broke out in the building around 4.30 a.m. on Wednesday. According to sources in Kuwait, the toll could have been higher. Around 18 employees, who resided in the ill-fated building, had left the building around 4 a.m. to take up their morning duties.

Newly sworn-in Union Minister of State George Kurian said that a MoS Kirthi Vardhan Singh has already left for Kuwait to coordinate the efforts of the Indian Embassy to bring back the bodies of those who lost their lives.