• 14 Jul, 2024

Dozens of people died in a fire at a Kuwait apartment building

Dozens of people died in a fire at a Kuwait apartment building

A fire broke out in a residential building in the Kuwaiti city of Mangaf, killing at least 49 people, according to Kuwait's interior ministry.

Videos shared on social media showed flames in the basement of the building and thick smoke billowing from the upper floors.

Most of the victims were believed to be foreign workers living there, including some Indians.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the victims and their families.

"The fire that happened in Kuwait City was very bad," he said of X. "My heart goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones. I pray for a speedy recovery for those injured.

He said the Indian Embassy is investigating the situation and cooperating with local authorities.

Kuwait's Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Farhad Youssef Al-Sabah accused the building's owners of greed, saying violations of building standards led to the accident.

"Unfortunately, the reason is the greed of the ruler," Sheikh Sabah, who is also the interior minister, told Reuters.

"They broke the rules and this is the result of that break."

The fire was reported at 06:00 local time (03:00 GMT) on Wednesday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Defense Major General Eid al-Oweihan told state television. The situation is now under control.

Witness Manikandan from the Indian state of Tamil Nadu told BBC Tamil that many workers work at night.

"Some people came back to their homes in the morning and were cooking after work," he said.

"Once the fire broke out, it spread so quickly that the occupants of the building were unable to control the fire."

He said many residents of the house are from Tamil Nadu and another south Indian state, Kerala. Local media reported 196 workers in the building, amid signs it was overcrowded.

A senior police officer told state television that "many" people were inside the building at the time of the fire.

"Many people were rescued, but many died due to the smoke from the fire," he said, adding that warnings about crowding the apartment building had been issued.

At this time, officials have not released information about the workers' countries of origin and their types of work.

But rescue worker Shamsudheen Kanneth told the BBC that 30 of the 49 dead have been found, most of them Indian. Among them are citizens of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines and Nepal.

However, Cannis added that some of the cremated bodies are beyond recognition and require DNA testing.

Two-thirds of Kuwait's population are foreign workers and the country relies heavily on migrant workers, particularly in the construction and housing sectors.

Human rights groups often express concern for their lives.

Syed Haider

Syed Haider