Kuwait Fire Claims 40 Indian Lives: Labor Overcrowding Suspected Cause of Tragedy

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Early Wednesday dawn, a devastating fire engulfed a workers’ accommodation complex in Kuwait, leaving at least 40 Indian nationals dead, and over 50 badly injured, according to reports from India’s external affairs ministry. Local official reports insinuate that violations to approved construction codes may have triggered this tragic incident.

The Interior Minister of Kuwait, Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, who visited the scene, confirmed the toll and ordered the immediate arrest of the building owner. The minister expressed his grave concern over the apparent issue of labor overcrowding in the building. In a determined tone, he remarked, “I’m now going to see what violations were committed here, and I will deal with the owner of the property.”

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Colonel Sayed Hassan al-Mousawi, who heads the firefighters’ Accident Investigation Department, admitted that the unsettling pile of dozens of casualties suggested that the death toll might even surge higher.

By late Wednesday, a ministry of external affairs statement indicated that “around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 injured.” They ensured that those injured are currently being treated in five governmental hospitals across Kuwait with “proper medical care and attention.”

Among the ministry’s key concerns was the swift repatriation of mortal remains and provision of medical assistance to those injured. To facilitate this, India’s junior External Affairs Minister, Kirti Vardhan Singh, is slated to travel to Kuwait.

India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, extended a somber message of condolences to the victims and reassured everyone, stating that the Indian Embassy is “closely monitoring the situation and working with the authorities there to assist those affected.” He expressed his sorrow over the unfortunate disaster in Kuwait City, extending his prayers for the speedy recovery of the injured.

The Persian Gulf nation, slightly smaller than the American state of New Jersey in size, and home to the world’s sixth-largest known oil reserves, is considerably populated by foreign migrant labor. The tall count of foreign workers outnumbers the native population in Kuwait, a country of roughly 4.2 million people.

This incident is not Kuwait’s first deadly fire. Most notably, a blaze at an oil refinery in 2022 resulted in four fatalities.