Kerala Minister Says She Was Not Allowed To Visit Kuwait For Fire Relief Ops

Kuwait fire tragedy: The Kerala government on Thursday announced that Health Minister Veena George would urgently travel to Kuwait to coordinate efforts related to the treatment of those who sustained injuries in the fire incident.

Kuwait fire incident: Veena George said it was "very unfortunate" that she did not get the permission


Kerala Health Minister Veena George on Friday said that it was "unfortunate" that the Central government did not permit her to travel to Kuwait to coordinate assistance for the people from the State affected in the tragic fire mishap in the Gulf country.

"It is very unfortunate that we did not get the consent (to travel to Kuwait). More than half of the people who died were from Kerala. The majority of the people who are under treatment are also from Kerala," Ms George told reporters at the Cochin International Airport here today.

The Kerala State government had convened an emergency Cabinet meeting on Thursday and announced that Ms George along with State Mission Director (NHM) Jeevan Babu would urgently travel to Kuwait to coordinate efforts related to the treatment of those from the State who sustained injuries as well as oversee the repatriation of the bodies of the victims.

A massive fire erupted in a six-storied building in Mangaf city in Kuwait on Wednesday, killing at least 48 people. Out of the 176 Indian workers in the housing facility, 45 died and 33 are hospitalized, the Indian embassy said.

The victims include 23 from Kerala, seven from Tamil Nadu, three from Uttar Pradesh, two from Odisha, and one each from Bihar, Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Jharkhand, and Haryana.

"The Embassy did not give us the exact data on the number of seriously injured people. The data that we have collected from there is that a total of seven people have been admitted to the hospital and 4 of them are from Kerala, but this is not officially declared. The purpose of my visit (to Kuwait) was that I wanted to be with the injured and bring their needs to the attention of the Central Government," Ms George said today.

A special Indian Air Force aircraft carrying the remains of 45 Indian victims that took off from Kuwait is expected to land here on Friday morning.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his deepest condolences and assured all possible assistance to those impacted by the tragedy.

Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Kirti Vardhan Singh who reached Kuwati on Thursday visited hospitals where the injured were admitted and interacted with Indian nationals undergoing treatment following the tragic fire incident in Mangaf.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)