40 Indians Dead & 50 Injured in a Horrible Fire at Kuwait Building

In a horrific incident, 40 Indians died, and 50 were severely injured after a massive fire broke out in a building in Mangaf city in Kuwait on 12th June 2024.

In a devastating incident, 49 people lost their lives and over a hundred were severely injured after a massive fire broke out in a six-storey building in Mangaf city, Kuwait. The building housed nearly 195 workers from various countries, including Pakistan, the Philippines, Egypt, Nepal, and India, who were employed by the same company.

The fire started at 6 am local time (9 am IST) in the kitchen of one of the apartments when most of the residents were asleep. While some victims died due to inhaling toxic smoke, many were burnt to death. The bodies of the deceased have been charred beyond recognition and have been sent for DNA and forensic testing to confirm their identities.

Among the injured, 50 were Indians, and out of the 49 dead, 40 were Indians aged between 20 to 50 years, hailing from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and various north Indian states. Indians constitute a significant part of Kuwait’s population, making up 21% (approximately 10 lakh) of the total population and 30% (around 9 lakh) of the workforce.

Indian Ambassador to Kuwait, Adarsh Swaika, visited the site of the fire and the hospitals where the injured were admitted. He assured that the Indian government is doing everything possible to support the victims and their families.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi convened a high-level meeting to review the incident. He instructed the Minister of State for External Affairs, Kirti Vardhan Singh, to travel to Kuwait immediately to arrange for the repatriation of the mortal remains and ensure the best possible medical care for the injured.

PM Modi expressed his condolences to the families of the deceased and announced a compensation of ?2 lakh for the families of those who lost their lives. He also wished the injured a speedy recovery.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart, Abdullah Ali Al-Yahy, who assured him that the incident would be fully investigated and those responsible would be held accountable. Jaishankar tweeted, "Was assured that the incident would be fully investigated and that responsibility will be fixed…"

The Indian embassy in Kuwait has set up a helpline at +965-65505246 (available for both WhatsApp and regular calls) for the families and friends of the victims.

Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, has ordered the arrest of the building's landlord, guard, janitor, and the owner of the company employing the workers. Preliminary investigations by the Kuwait Fire Department revealed that inflammable materials were used as partitions within the building, contributing to the rapid spread of the fire. Sheikh Fahad stated, "What happened today is a result of the greed of the company and building owners."

He has also directed the Public Authority of Manpower to address the issue of overcrowding in expatriate worker housing and violations of real estate safety norms starting June 13, 2024.

Kuwait’s Emir, Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah, has ordered a thorough investigation into the fire and has promised that those responsible for the tragedy will be held accountable.

This tragic incident highlights the urgent need for stringent safety measures and regulations to protect workers, especially expatriates, from such avoidable disasters. The affected families and injured victims continue to receive support and assistance from both the Indian and Kuwaiti governments as they navigate this difficult time.