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IAF Repatriates Bodies of 45 Indian Nationals After Tragic Fire in Kuwait; Total Indian Deaths Rise to 46

An Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft is repatriating the bodies of 45 Indian nationals who died in a tragic fire in Kuwait.

The total number of Indian casualties has increased after one of the injured succumbed in the hospital.

The C-130J Hercules aircraft took off from Kuwait early Friday morning, expected to first arrive in Kochi, Kerala, around 11 AM, before continuing to New Delhi. Twenty-three of the deceased were from Kerala, and their remains will be handed over to local authorities in Kochi before the aircraft proceeds to the national capital.

Minister of State for External Affairs, Kirti Vardhan Singh, who was sent to Kuwait to oversee relief efforts and expedite the repatriation process, is accompanying the IAF aircraft back to India.

Kuwait’s foreign minister, Abdullah Ali Al-Yahya, informed local media that one of the injured had died overnight, raising the total death toll to 50. Sources confirmed that the deceased individual was Indian, bringing the total number of Indian casualties to 46. The fire also claimed the lives of three Filipinos, with one victim still unidentified.

The fire broke out early Wednesday at a building in Mangaf, southern Kuwait, which housed 196 foreign workers. Among them, 176 were Indian nationals, and 33 are currently receiving treatment in various hospitals, according to a statement from the Indian embassy in Kuwait.

The 45 deceased Indians were from 12 states, with Kerala bearing the highest number of victims at 23. The other victims were from Tamil Nadu (seven), Andhra Pradesh (three), Uttar Pradesh (three), Odisha (two), Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, and West Bengal (one each).

Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, has ordered financial assistance for the families of the fire victims, as reported by Kuwait Times.

On Thursday, Kuwait’s public prosecutor detained a Kuwaiti national and two expatriates on charges of manslaughter and wrongful injury. Prosecution officials visited the injured in various hospitals late Wednesday to record their statements.

Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Sheikh Fahad Yousef Saud Al-Sabah, announced the creation of a hotline for reporting building safety violations. This initiative aims to ensure prompt action and continuous inspections to enforce safety regulations and prevent similar tragedies in the future.

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