Bodies of Kuwait fire victims arrive in Kochi; CM Vijayan pays homage

Kuwaiti authorities have identified 46 Indians and 3 Filipinos among the 49 deceased, with about 50 others sustaining injuries in the blaze.

| Updated: 14 June, 2024 2:46 pm IST
Kuwaiti authorities have identified 46 Indians and 3 Filipinos among the 49 deceased, with about 50 others sustaining injuries in the blaze.
Kuwaiti authorities have identified 46 Indians and 3 Filipinos among the 49 deceased, with about 50 others sustaining injuries in the blaze.

NEW DELHI: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister Kirti Vardhan Singh, among others, paid their respects as the mortal remains of 46 Indians killed in a devastating fire in Kuwait arrived at Cochin International Airport.

The victims, predominantly from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, will be transported to their respective hometowns for final rites.  A special Indian Air Force aircraft, C-130J, brought back the mortal remains of the 45 Indian victims.

The fire erupted in a crowded labor camp in Mangaf, Kuwait, housing 196 migrant workers. Preliminary investigations reveal alarming safety deficiencies, including locked doors preventing escape to the rooftop, inflammable materials used as partitions, and a significant number of gas cylinders on the premises.

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Kuwaiti authorities have identified 46 Indians and 3 Filipinos among the 49 deceased, with about 50 others sustaining injuries in the blaze. The incident has sparked outrage and grief across India, particularly in Kerala, where a majority of the victims hailed from.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George expressed frustration over not being allowed to travel to Kuwait to assist affected Indians from the state. “More than half of the deceased and many of the injured are from Kerala,” she lamented.

Amid calls for better protection of Indian workers abroad, Indian officials, including Minister Kirti Vardhan Singh, have been active in Kuwait to facilitate the repatriation of bodies and ensure medical support for the injured. The tragedy has underscored the precarious conditions faced by many Indian expatriates in Gulf countries, where they form a significant part of the workforce.

Investigations into the fire’s cause and the circumstances leading to such a high casualty toll are ongoing, with the Kuwaiti government promising accountability for any lapses in safety standards.

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