24 Keralites among 49 killed in Kuwait fire accident

23 from the state who died in Wednesday’s accident identified; bodies to be brought to Kochi in special aircraft today
Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh meets Indians, who were injured in the fire accident, at the Jaber hospital in Kuwait on Thursday
Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh meets Indians, who were injured in the fire accident, at the Jaber hospital in Kuwait on Thursday Photo | PTI

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The massive fire that ripped through a six-storey apartment at Al Mangaf in Kuwait has claimed the lives of 24 Keralites, the NORKA said on Thursday. The blaze that broke out in the building that housed labourers of an Indian company on Wednesday morning has so far claimed 49 lives, of which 42 are Indians.

Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh meets Indians, who were injured in the fire accident, at the Jaber hospital in Kuwait on Thursday
Over 40 Indians among 49 killed in Kuwait fire tragedy

Out of 24 Keralites who lost their lives, 23 have been identified. Of these, five are from Pathanamthitta district, four from Kollam, three each from Kottayam and Kannur, two each from Thiruvananthapuram, Kasaragod and Malappuram and one each from Alappuzha and Thrissur districts.

Some of the bodies that are yet to be identified will be subjected to DNA test and the process will take two weeks to complete, said NORKA Principal Secretary Dr K Vasuki.

She said the immediate priority is to bring back the bodies, for which the Union government has arranged a special aircraft.

The bodies of Keralites will be flown to Kochi in a special aircraft on Friday morning, where they will be received by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, ministers and senior bureaucrats, according to chief minister’s office.

From Kochi, the bodies will be taken to the victims’ houses in special ambulances. NORKA with the help of the district administration has arranged an ambulance fleet for transporting the bodies.

“The state government in coordination with the Union government and Kuwaiti government have been making all efforts to bring back the bodies at the earliest,” Vasuki said.

The treatment of those who sustained serious injuries will continue in Kuwaiti hospitals as they have been admitted to the intensive care units and are not in a condition to be shifted.

According to NORKA CEO Ajith Kolassery, there are some Keralites among the nine persons who are currently under treatment in ICUs with serious injuries.

Meanwhile, a special state cabinet that met on Thursday decided to provide Rs 5 lakh each to the family of the deceased and Rs 1 lakh each to those injured in the fire accident.

The NBTC Group, for which the people housed in the building were working, has announced Rs I8 lakh as immediate financial solace for the family of the deceased. The company said other benefits and jobs will be provided to the kin of the victims.

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