Kuwait fire: Malayali organisations offer aid to fire victims

Forty Indians among 49 workers killed in the Kuwait building fire

Updated - June 13, 2024 03:47 pm IST

Published - June 13, 2024 10:43 am IST - MALAPPURAM

Smoke billows after a fire broke out in a building, in Mangaf, Kuwait on June 12, 2024.

Smoke billows after a fire broke out in a building, in Mangaf, Kuwait on June 12, 2024. | Photo Credit: PTI

Leaders and volunteers of different Malayali organisations in Kuwait, particularly the Kerala Muslim Cultural Committee (KMCC), were at the forefront to offer solace and aid to the relatives and friends of the victims of a massive fire at Manqaf in Kuwait on Wednesday.

More than 40 people, most of them Indians, were killed when a six-story apartment building that functioned as a labour camp caught fire at 4 a.m. As many as 21 bodies were shifted to the mortuary at Adan Hospital, said KMCC Kuwait unit president Syed Nasar Al Mashoor Thangal.

Also read: Track Kuwait fire LIVE updates here

Mr. Thangal told The Hindu that their volunteers were ready to offer any help to the victims and their friends and relatives. “Our men are there at all hospitals offering all kinds of help. We have never had such a situation before,” said Mr. Thangal.

Kuwait fire | Video Credit: The Hindu

The victims were rushed to Adan Hospital, Jahra Hospital, Sabah Hospital, Mubarak Hospital and Farwaniya Hospital, some of the key hospitals in Kuwait. He said many had died of suffocation rather than burns from the fire that took place around 4 a.m. The cause of the fire was yet to be identified, he said.

Some Keralites who refused to reveal their names said that they suspected a gas cylinder blast in the watchman’s room. They said illegal sale of gas cylinders was common among some people.

The six-storey building reportedly flouted several fire safety norms, and the firefighters had a tough time entering the building to rescue those inside.

Also Read | Fire in Kuwait labour camp shocks Kerala, people on tenterhooks as details of dead and injured awaited

The building had four apartments on each floor. Each apartment had three rooms, and there were three labourers in each room. It was not clear how many were in the building when the fire started.

“Three of our drivers are missing,” said Naibu M.C., who works in Kuwait for a multinational company.

The victims were working for different wings of NBTC, a company owned by K.G. Abraham. Some of them had jumped to their death from the building.

“My friend Mohammed Ali jumped out of the third floor, fracturing his hip and hands. A few people died in front of us. It was horrific,” said C.T. Mohammed Haneefa, vice president of the KMCC Koduvally zone, who had reached the site soon after the tragedy.

“My son is living in an apartment three buildings away. Although the fire broke out at 4 a.m., the people realised the real gravity of the tragedy only by 7 a.m.,” said Mr. Haneefa.

KMCC advisory member Siddeeque Valiyakath told The Hindu that they would lend all help not only to ensure the best medical care to those injured, but to help the kin of the dead to bring home their bodies.

Several help centres were opened in Kuwait. The Indian Embassy in Kuwait opened a helpline. “We will work in tandem with the Embassy to send home the bodies,” said Mr. Thangal.

Apart from the KMCC, the Kuwait Kerala Muslim Association, the Kerala Art Lovers Association, and the Kerala Islamic Group were also in the forefront providing succour for the victims and their relatives.

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