24 people from Kerala among 49 deceased in Kuwait fire; CM announces financial assistance

₹5 lakh financial assistance will be provided to the families of the people from Kerala who died in the mishap, the CMO said in a statement.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Jun 13, 2024 | 12:42 PM Updated Jun 13, 2024 | 4:10 PM

The building where the fire accident occurred. (X)

The number of people from Kerala who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy has risen to 24, while seven seriously injured persons from the southern state are being treated in various hospitals in the Gulf country, according to a senior official of NORKA Roots on Thursday, 13 June.

Ajith Kolasseri, who is holding additional charge of the NORKA Chief Executive Officer, said according to the information provided by its help desk in Kuwait unofficially, the number of casualties among Keralites is rising.

It was 12 in the morning, later updated to 19, and now it stands at 24.

Earlier, the state government had said that as per the information received by it, 19 people from Kerala died in the incident.

Also Read: Agony for kin of those suspected dead as wait for official confirmation continues

15 people identified

Among the deceased people from Kerala, 15 were identified.

Viswas Krishnan from Kannur, Kelu, and Ranjith from Kasargod, Akash Sasidharan, Saju Varghese, Muraleedharan Nair, Thomas Umman, and Thomas Mathew from Pathanamthitta, Lukose, Sajan George and Shameer from Kollam, Nooh and Bahuleyan from Malappuram, and Stephin Abraham and Sreehari from Kottayam.

Seven seriously injured Keralites are being treated in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of various hospitals in Kuwait, he told reporters.

Many injured persons have been discharged from hospitals, he said.

The Chief Minister’s Office said in a statement that ₹5 lakh financial assistance would be provided to the families of the people from the state who died in the Kuwait fire tragedy which also left 50 others injured.

The decision was taken at an emergency Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the morning, a statement issued by his office said.

Reportedly, a majority of them hail from the Pathanamthitta district.

The Cabinet also decided to provide ₹1 lakh financial assistance to those injured in the incident, it said.

Health minister to visit Kuwait

A decision was taken to immediately send Kerala Health Minister Veena George to Kuwait to coordinate the efforts to provide treatment to those injured in the fire and bring back the bodies of those who died in the tragedy, it further said.

National Health Mission State Director Jeevan Babu IAS will accompany the minister to Kuwait.

The statement also said prominent businessmen MA Yusuff Ali and Ravi Pillai informed the chief minister that they would provide ₹5 lakh and ₹2 lakh, respectively, to each of the families of the Keralites who died in the fire.

The assistance will be provided through NORKA and with help from the two businessmen, the families of each of those from the state who died in the incident will get ₹12 lakh, the statement said.

NORKA officials said they are in constant touch with the Malayali Associations in Kuwait and members of Loka Kerala Sabha to ensure treatment and other emergency services.

IAF aircraft on standby

Kuwaiti authorities are conducting DNA tests on the bodies of those killed in the fire incident and an IAF aircraft is on standby to bring back the mortal remains of Indians killed in the incident, officials said on Thursday.

Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh has left for Kuwait following a direction from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to oversee assistance to Indians injured in the fire and to ensure early repatriation of mortal remains of those killed.

Meanwhile, Kuwait officials had said that the total number of people killed in the Al-Mangaf building is 49 and 42 of them are learnt to be Indians; the remaining ones were Pakistani, Filipino, Egyptian and Nepali nationals.

“In an unfortunate and tragic fire incident earlier today in a Labour housing facility in the Mangaf area of Kuwait, around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 injured,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement late on Wednesday night.

Prime Minister Modi, who described the incident as “saddening”, reviewed the situation at a meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, NSA Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra and Principal Secretary to PM PK Mishra among others.

Following the meeting, the prime minister announced ex-gratia relief of ₹2 lakh to the families of the deceased Indian nationals from the PM Relief Fund and directed that the government should extend all possible assistance.

The External Affairs Minister spoke to his Kuwaiti counterpart Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya on the phone and urged him for the early repatriation of the mortal remains of those killed.

Also Read: Indians among 41 killed in Kuwait apartment fire: Reports

Helpline numbers

The NORKA help desk is coordinating with the Indian Embassy and the mortuary departments in the hospitals in Kuwait to expedite the paperwork for bringing the bodies of the victims back home.

It has also started helplines to assist people from Kerala who seek information on the Kuwait fire incident, following the direction of Chief Minister Vijayan.

  • Anoop Mangadu: +965 90039594
  • Bijoy: +965 66893942
  • Richi K George: +965 60615153
  • Anil Kumar: +965 66015200
  • Thomas Selvan: +965 51714124
  • Ranjith: +965 55575492
  • Naveen: +965 99861103
  • Ansari: +965 60311882
  • Jince Thomas: +965 65589453
  • Sugathan: +965 55464554,
  • J Saji: + 965 99122984.
  • Toll-free number 1800 425 3939 (from India) or +91-8802 012 345 (missed call service for those abroad)

The Department of Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs (NORKA) was constituted by the state government in 1996 to address the grievances of non-resident Keralites both in India and abroad and to establish a sustainable partnership with them.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil with PTI inputs)

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