Kuwait building fire: Five Tamils among those killed in Al-Mangaf tragedy

Two supermarket workers from Vanaramooti and Ramanathapuram are among those killed in fire; families seek government assistance to repatriate their mortal remains
Rescuers arrive at the site of a building that caught fire in Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.
Rescuers arrive at the site of a building that caught fire in Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.Photo | AP

CHENNAI/THOOTHUKUDI/RAMANATHAPURAM: Tamil Nadu's Minister for Minorities Welfare and Non-Resident Tamils Welfare, Gingee KS Masthan, said on Thursday that, according to initial reports from the Tamil Sangam in Kuwait, five Tamils were among those killed in the building fire accident in Al-Mangaf on Wednesday.

However, the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said the full details of those who lost their lives would be known after identification of the bodies.

Speaking to reporters after discussions with Chief Minister MK Stalin, the minister revealed that 195 individuals were residing in a four-storey building in Al-Mangaf, where a fire broke out, resulting in the deaths of 49 people and numerous injuries.

"The Tamil Nadu government has been trying to contact those who were affected in this fire accident. The details about the deaths are yet to be declared through the Embassy. Based on the Tamil Sangam functioning in Kuwait, the following have lost their lives in the fire accident: Ramu Karuppannan, Veerasamy Mariappan, Chinnathurai Krishnamurthy, Mohammed Sharif, and P Richard Rai,” Masthan said.

Rescuers arrive at the site of a building that caught fire in Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.
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The minister also said the Tamil Nadu government is in constant touch with the Indian Embassy in Kuwait to get further information about the Tamils who were affected by this fire accident. He added that all steps are being taken to help those affected by the fire accident and to bring the bodies of the dead to Tamil Nadu.

Two supermarket workers among those deceased

55-year-old Ramu (L) and 41-year-old V Mariappan (R) succumbed to their injuries in the Al-Mangaf building fire in Kuwait.
55-year-old Ramu (L) and 41-year-old V Mariappan (R) succumbed to their injuries in the Al-Mangaf building fire in Kuwait.Photo | Special Arrangement

One of the victims, identified as V Mariappan (41), hailing from Vanaramooti near Kovilpatti, had been employed in a Kuwaiti supermarket for the past two decades.

Mariappan had returned to his native village for a Sivaratri festival three months ago. He resided with his mother Veerammal, wife Karpagam, and children Nirmala and Kathirnilavan.

Veerammal expressed her shock upon learning about the tragic incident from one of Mariappan's colleagues. Just three days prior, Mariappan had spoken to her over the phone.

According to his mother, while one of his friends from a nearby village had managed to escape by jumping through a window, Mariappan remained motionless and sustained severe burn injuries. Sources said that Mariappan was swiftly taken to a hospital by rescuers, but he tragically succumbed to his injuries late on Wednesday.

Another victim of the accident has been identified as 55-year-old Ramu from Ramanathapuram, who had also been employed at a Kuwaiti supermarket for over two decades. According to relatives, Ramu had been planning to return home in a couple of weeks but tragically met his end in the accident.

Police sources have confirmed the victim's identity as Ramu, son of Karupananan, a native of the Thennavanur area in Ramanathapuram. He is survived by a family of three, including his wife and two children.

Upon learning about the accident and Ramu's hospitalisation through a relative in Kuwait, the family members were devastated to hear of his passing at the hospital.

Ramu's family has requested the Tamil Nadu government take steps to repatriate his body for the final rites. They also appealed for government assistance in providing compensation for the family.

Rescuers arrive at the site of a building that caught fire in Kuwait, Wednesday, June 12, 2024.
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