Bodies Of Indians Killed In Kuwait Charred, IAF Plane To Bring Them Home

Nearly 200 people were living in the building and officials most deaths were caused due to inhalation of smoke in sleep.

At least 48 people have died in the fire at the Kuwait building

New Delhi:

The bodies of some of the Indians killed in the fire in Kuwait are charred beyond recognition and DNA testing is on to confirm the victims' identities, Union Minister Kirti Vardhan Singh has said.

The Gonda MP, who had to rush to the Gulf country soon after he took charge as a Minister of State for External Affairs, said an Indian Air Force plane is ready to bring the bodies home. "As soon as the bodies are identified, their kin will be informed and our Air Force plane will bring the bodies back," he said. According to the latest figures, he said, at least 48 people have died in the fire in Mangaf city and 42 of them are believed to be Indians.

The fire in the six-storey building started in the kitchen early yesterday. Nearly 200 people were living in the building, and officials said most deaths were caused due to inhalation of smoke in sleep.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviewed the tragic incident at a high-level meeting at his residence last night and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those killed in the fire. He has expressed condolences for the families and wished those injured -- about 50 -- a speedy recovery. In fact, it is the survivors who are helping the officials identify the bodies with severe burns. 

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar has spoken to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya. "Was assured that the incident would be fully investigated and that responsibility will be fixed," Mr Jaishankar 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 added.

The Indian Embassy in Kuwait has started a helpline +965-65505246 for family members of the victims to reach out. The first list of victims' names is expected to be out later today.

The local administration has started a probe into how more than 160 people were staying in the building. The owner of the building and also the person responsible for the workers may face action. 

The Tamil Nadu government has, meanwhile, said at least five of the victims are from the state. Chief Minister MK Stalin has expressed his condolences. KS Masthan, Tamil Nadu minister for non-resident Tamils, has said identifying the bodies is a challenge and they are waiting for official confirmation. The Kerala government has said 21 victims are from the state. 

Indians account for 21 per cent of the total population of Kuwait, and 30 per cent of its workforce.