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Kuwait fire: IAF aircraft on standby to bring back mortal remains of Indians

MoS for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh has left for Kuwait following a direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to oversee assistance to Indians injured in the fire and to ensure early repatriation of mortal remains of those killed.
Last Updated : 13 June 2024, 07:54 IST

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New Delhi: Kuwaiti authorities are conducting DNA tests on the bodies of those killed in the devastating fire incident in southern Kuwait's Mangaf area and an IAF aircraft is on standby to bring back the mortal remains of Indians killed in the incident, officials said on Thursday.

Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh has left for Kuwait following a direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to oversee assistance to Indians injured in the fire and to ensure early repatriation of mortal remains of those killed.

Officials had said that total number of people killed in the Al-Mangaf building is 49 and 42 of them are learnt to be Indians; the remaining ones are Pakistani, Filipino, Egyptian and Nepali nationals.

"In an unfortunate and tragic fire incident earlier today in a Labour housing facility in Mangaf area of Kuwait, around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 injured," the Ministry of External Affairs had said in a statement late on Wednesday night.

Prime Minister Modi, who described the incident as "saddening", reviewed the situation at a meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and Principal Secretary to PM P K Mishra among others.

Following the meeting, the prime minister announced ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the families of the deceased Indian nationals from the PM Relief Fund and directed that the government should extend all possible assistance.

The External Affairs Minister spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on phone and urged him for the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those killed.

"Spoke to Kuwaiti FM Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on the fire tragedy in Kuwait. Apprised of the efforts made by Kuwaiti authorities in that regard. Was assured that the incident would be fully investigated and that responsibility will be fixed," Jaishankar had said on 'X'.

"Urged the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those who lost their lives. He emphasized that those injured were getting the requisite medical attention," he had said.

The officials had said most of the Indian victims are from Kerala.

The fire in Al-Mangaf building was reported to authorities in Al-Ahmadi governorate at 4.30 am on Wednesday and most of the deaths were due to smoke inhalation, Kuwaiti media reported, adding the fire started in a kitchen.

Construction firm NBTC group rented the building for the stay of more than 195 workers, most of them Indians from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and northern states, the Kuwaiti media said.

The NBTC group is partly owned by an Indian, officials said.

Interior Minister of Kuwait Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah ordered an investigation into the fire incident and issued directions to apprehend the owner and janitor of Al-Mangaf building.

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Published 13 June 2024, 07:54 IST

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