An Indian Air Force flight recently brought back the bodies of 45 workers who lost their lives in a tragic fire that occurred in Kuwait. The fire took place in a residential building in Mangaf city where 176 Indian workers resided. Kuwaiti officials reported a total of 50 fatalities, with 45 victims from India and three from the Philippines, leaving two bodies yet to be identified. Additionally, many workers, predominantly Indian, sustained injuries in the incident.

Kuwait heavily relies on foreign workers, with two-thirds of its population consisting of migrants who play crucial roles in sectors like construction and domestic work. Concerns about the living conditions of these workers have been raised by human rights organizations on a regular basis.

Indian Minister Kirti Vardhan Singh, who visited Kuwait following the tragedy, mentioned that DNA tests were conducted to identify the deceased workers. Out of the confirmed victims, 23 were from Kerala, seven from Tamil Nadu, and others from various states across India. In response to the situation, the Indian government arranged a special Air Force flight to repatriate the bodies, with the flight landing in Kochi and then proceeding to Delhi.

Upon the arrival of the flight in Kochi, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, along with other state officials, received the bodies and paid their respects. Expressing grief over the incident, Mr. Vijayan highlighted the significant role of migrant workers from Kerala and termed the Kuwait fire as a major tragedy affecting the community. Both state and federal governments have announced compensation for the families of the deceased workers.

In Kuwait, authorities have initiated inspections to assess health and safety conditions in buildings accommodating foreign workers. Investigations revealed that the fire originated from an electrical short circuit in the security guard’s room, with flammable materials used as partitions in the building. As a result, the Kuwaiti Public Prosecution department detained individuals, including a citizen and expatriates, on charges of manslaughter and negligence for failing to adhere to fire safety protocols.

Following the incident, Sheikh Fahad Yusuf al-Sabah, the country’s deputy prime minister, criticized property owners for prioritizing profits over safety standards, leading to the tragic outcome. Efforts to improve building safety standards and hold accountable those responsible for the fire are underway in Kuwait.