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Middle East

Kuwait fire tragedy: Special IAF Aircraft carrying bodies of 45 Indian victims taken off for Kochi

June 14, 2024 8:32 AM IST

Indian victims | Indian Air Force C-130J aircraft | Cochin International Airport | Minister of State for External Affairs | Kuwait | Kochi | Kirti Vardhan Singh | Kuwait fire tragedy | IAF Aircraft

A special Indian Air Force C-130J aircraft carrying the mortal remains of 45 Indian victims from the tragic fire incident in Kuwait has taken off and is en route to Kochi. The aircraft is expected to arrive shortly at Cochin International Airport, where police forces and ambulances have been deployed in preparation for its arrival.

Minister of State for External Affairs, Kirti Vardhan Singh, who coordinated closely with Kuwaiti authorities to ensure the swift repatriation of the deceased, is onboard the aircraft.

The fire incident, which has cast a somber shadow over both the expatriate community in Kuwait and India, has highlighted severe safety lapses. Kuwait’s Interior Minister, Sheikh Fahd Al-Yousef, has vowed to address issues of “labour overcrowding and neglect,” warning that any buildings violating safety regulations will face closure.

The blaze, which devastated a seven-storey building, was exacerbated by around two dozen gas cylinders on the ground floor and inflammable materials like paper, cardboard, and plastic used as partitions in the cramped rooms.

The Union government will provide Rs 2 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased. NBTC, the company that owns the gutted labor camp in Mangaf, announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 8 lakh for each of the affected families.

Further extending support, prominent NRI businessman and Chairman of the UAE-based Lulu Group, M.A. Yusuffali, pledged Rs 5 lakh for each family that lost a loved one in the fire. The Kerala government has also committed Rs 5 lakh to the families of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh to the injured.

As many as twenty-three residents of Kerala were among 45 Indians who died in the fire incident here on Wednesday. The detailed breakdown of the victims reveals the extent of the devastation- 7 from Tamil Nadu, 3 from Andhra Pradesh, 1 each from Bihar, Odisha, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Haryana, Punjab, and West Bengal, in addition to the 23 from Kerala.

Kuwaiti authorities are working tirelessly to investigate the cause of the fire and provide support to the affected families. 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 on June 13, visited hospitals in Kuwait, where he interacted with Indian nationals undergoing treatment following the tragic fire incident in Mangaf. His visits underscored India’s commitment to ensuring the well-being of its citizens abroad and highlighted the importance of international cooperation during times of crisis.

By, Vinod Kumar, Dubai


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