Kuwait fire tragedy: 22 from Kerala dead; 6 hospitalised with critical injuries

World Thursday 13/June/2024 19:42 PM
Kuwait fire tragedy: 22 from Kerala dead; 6 hospitalised with critical injuries

Thiruvananthapuram: Three out of the nine people from Kerala who sustained serious injuries in the fire incident in Kuwait city of Mangaf have died, according to the latest information, while the remaining are battling for their lives in hospitals in the Gulf nation.

"Three people have already been declared dead so six are in ICU right now," said K Vasuki, Secretary, Non-Resident Keralite's Affairs (NORKA) told ANI on Thursday.

The NORKA official said that they have unofficial reports that 22 people from Kerala have been confirmed dead and that the identities of 15 of them have been confirmed.

"It is a very unfortunate incident, from Kerala we have unofficial reports that there are 22 Malayalees who are deceased of which 15 have been confirmed. The primary focus of the Kerala government is to bring the mortal remains of the deceased back home and we are working with the Government of India as well as the Ministry of External Affairs as well as the Embassy in Kuwait," said the Secretary of NORKA.

NORKA, which is managed by the Kerala government looks after the affairs of the non-resident Keralites.

The NORKA official said that procedures for DNA test to identify the bodies will begin as soon as possible and that the Indian Embassy in Kuwait is "on the job."

"All officials in the embassy as well as the Malayali disaspora are handled through the NORKA desk, she said.

Meanwhile, an Indian Air Force's C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft has been put on stand-by at the Hindan airbase near Delhi for bringing back bodies to India.

The 15 deceased from Kerala have been identified as Viswas Krishnan of Kannur, Kelu Ponmuleri of Kasaragod, Akash Sasidharan of Pandalam in Pathanamthitta, Saju Varghese of Konni in Pathanamthitta, Lukose of Kollam, Noohu of Malappuram, Sajan George of Kollam, Muraleedharan Nair of Pathanamthitta, Ranjith of Kasaragod, Stephin Abraham of Kottayam, Shameer of Kollam, Thomas Umman of Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta, Thomas Mathew Mathew of Pathanamthitta, Bahuleyan of Malappuram and Sreehari of Kottayam.

Victims have are being treated in five government hospitals in Kuwait- Adan, Jaber, Farwaniya, Mubarak Al Kabeer, and Jahra hospitals.

After a special cabinet meeting held this morning, the Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan-led government announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each for those who were injured. Over 40 Indians were killed in the massive fire that broke out in a labour camp.

The Kerala Cabinet announced that two prominent businesspersons from Kerala, Yusuf Ali, who is also the Norka Board Vice Chairperson and Ravi Pillai had informed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan that they would donate Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively. The Cabinet added that the aid by the two businessmen would be provided via the Non-Resident Keralite's Affairs (NORKA).

This will bring the total assistance to Rs 12 lakh per family as the state government has announced an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh for those who were injured in the June 12 mishap in the Kuwait city.

In the Cabinet it was decided that the state health minister Veena George will urgently travel to Kuwait to coordinate efforts to assist families of those who were killed and injured in the massive fire.

Earlier on Thursday, External Affairs of the Minister of State, Kirti Vardhan Singh who reached Kuwait met Sheikh Fahad Yousef Saud Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defence and Interior of Kuwait.

"The DPM conveyed condolences on behalf of the Amir and his instructions to ensure all necessary assistance and support," according to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait.

Singh also conveyed greetings of PM Narendra Modi for the Emir and thanked DPM and the leadership of Kuwait for the pro-active facilitation being provided by Kuwaiti authorities.