"Some charred beyond recognition, Air Force plane ready to bring bodies back": MoS Kirti Vardhan Singh on Kuwait fire

NewsBharati    13-Jun-2024 10:49:18 AM
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New Delhi, June 13: Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh, who is on his way to Kuwait after a building fire killed over 40 Indians on Wednesday, said that "some of the bodies have been charred beyond recognition and DNA test is underway to identify the victims". Singh also added that an Air Force plane is ready to bring the bodies back.
Kirti Vardhan Singh on Kuwait fire

Speaking to ANI at the Delhi Airport before flying for Kuwait, the MoS said, "We had a meeting last evening with the Prime Minister, that is the last update we have about this very sad tragedy... The rest of the situation will be clear the moment we reach there..."

On being asked about the plan of repatriation of the mortal remains of those who lost lives, he said, "The situation is that the victims are mostly burn victims and some of the bodies have been charred beyond recognition. So a DNA test is underway to identify the victims."

"An Air Force plane is on standby. As soon as the bodies are identified, the kin will be informed and our Air Force plane will bring the bodies back..." the MoS said.

"The latest figures that we had last night, the casualty figures are around 48-49 out of this 42 or 43 are believed to be Indians," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his deep sorrow at the unfortunate incident and extended condolences to the families of the deceased. He further wished for the speedy recovery of those injured and assured all possible assistance from the Indian government. He announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to each of the families of the deceased.

What happened?

The fire broke out in the Mangaf area of Kuwait's southern Ahmadi Governorate in a six-storey building housing nearly 200 workers from the same company. It resulted in the loss of at least 40 Indian citizens' lives and leaving more than 50 injured. The remaining casualties included Pakistani, Filipino, Egyptian, and Nepali nationals.
Kuwaiti officials stated that the majority of the fatalities were caused by smoke inhalation while the occupants were asleep. They also mentioned that a substantial number of residents were evacuated from the premises.

The blaze originated in a kitchen on the ground floor of the building. Initial investigations indicate that a short circuit may have been the cause of the fire, which rapidly spread to the upper floors. Some of the victims lost their lives after jumping from the building in an attempt to escape the flames, while others perished due to severe burns or smoke inhalation.

According to officials in Kuwait, most deaths were caused by smoke inhalation while the victims were sleeping. A significant number of occupants were also evacuated.

Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, the interior minister, verified the death toll during his visit to the location and commanded the arrest of the building's proprietor, as reported by local news outlets. "We will address the issue of labor overcrowding," he said. "I'm now going to see what violations were committed here and I will deal with the owner of the property."

The head of the firefighters' accident investigation department, Col Sayed Hassan al-Mousawi, stated that there were numerous casualties and that the ultimate death count might be greater than initially reported.