Many Keralites lost lives in Kuwait fire incident, 30-year-old Shameer among them

13 June,2024 09:02 AM IST |  Kerala  |  ANI

Shameer worked as a heavy vehicle driver in Kuwait. The family learned about the incident at 11:00 am on Wednesday, the relative said.

Fire erupted in a Kuwait building housing workers. Pic/PTI

The Kuwait fire incident claimed the lives of around 40 Indian workers and among them is 30-year-old Shameer, hailing from Sooranad village in Kerala's Kollam district.

Around 40 Indians are understood to have died and over 50 are injured in a tragic fire incident at a labour housing facility in the Mangaf area of Kuwait on Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said, adding the injured are being treated in five government hospitals in Kuwait.

Speaking with ANI, Safedu, Shameer's relative, said, "He (Shameer) left here five years ago. He works for a company in Kuwait run by three people from Pathanamthitta. Two years ago, he came back and got married, and it's been eight months since he left again."

Shameer worked as a heavy vehicle driver in Kuwait. The family learned about the incident at 11:00 am on Wednesday, the relative said.

"Najeeb, who works with Shameer and lives a kilometre away, informed us. We contacted several people in Kuwait. He was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital. The body is currently at a government hospital. No official information has been provided yet," Safedu said.

He further said that the people in Kuwait are keeping them informed.

"Shameer's wife and mother have not been told about his death; they have been told he is in the ICU. We have been informed that the Finance Minister will visit in the coming days. MP Kodikunnil Suresh called, and we request that the central and state governments intervene to bring Shameer's body back home as soon as possible," Safedu said.

Jalaludeen, Najeeb's father, who survived the fire, said that his son broke his leg while he was trying to escape the fire.

"Najeeb has been in Kuwait for four years. He called and informed me that a building caught fire in Kuwait and that Shameer had died. My son Najeeb jumped from the second floor to escape and broke his leg, but he said there were no other major issues."

Jalaludeen further said that his son couldn't come home immediately as he needs to complete his treatment and other formalities.

"I learned from the news channel that 11 people died. We didn't get any information from anyone in Kuwait. I found out that it was a company run by Malayalees. Najeeb's treatment is ongoing in coordination with the embassy," Jalaludeen told ANI.

Al Ameen, Najeeb's brother said, "I video-called my brother in the afternoon. Someone knocked on the door, and when they opened it, there was smoke. After that, he grabbed his phone and jumped from the building. His leg is broken. By evening, he had been moved to his camp. He called home a little while ago and spoke with his wife. Those near his room were saddened when they learned about the deaths."

Shanavas, a friend of Shameer and Najeeb, informed that he received the information of fire on the morning of June 12.

"I found out about the incident this morning. It was a huge shock. Learning that Shameer had died was devastating. When I heard that Najeeb had survived, I called and spoke to him. I didn't know what to say. I'm still in shock."

He added further, "We grew up together in the same village. The last time I spoke to both of them was when they visited home together... We grew up together like brothers."

The Kuwait fire incident also took the life of Kasaragod native Kelu Ponmaleri. A resident of Thrikaripur town in Kasaragod, Ponmaleri was working as a production engineer with NBTC Group. He is survived by his wife, KN Mani, who is a Panchayat employee and two sons.

The other deceased has been identified as 34-year-old Ranjith, also from Kasaragad, who was working in Kuwait for the last 10 years.

Congress leader and Kerala Leader of Opposition (LoP) VD Satheesan said that several Malayalees lost their lives in the fire incident.

He said, "More than 45 people have died and several people have been seriously injured in the fire that broke out in the labour camp in Mangaf Block 4. According to reports, many Malayalees lost their lives in the accident."

He added further, "There was a tragedy that made the entire Kerala cry. It is hoped that the details of the deceased will be available in coordination with the central and state governments."

Also, in the wake of the Kuwait tragedy, the inaugural conference, seminar and related programmes of the Lok Kerala Sabha were cancelled. The Lok Kerala Sabha meeting will be held on June 14 and 15, as scheduled. However, there will be no celebrations, the statement said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with the team of the Ministry of External Affairs and other officials on Wednesday evening regarding the tragic fire incident in Kuwait.

The External Affairs team will leave for Kuwait on Thursday to take stock of the situation and see those injured currently being treated in hospital.

"...We stand with the victims of the Kuwait fire incident, we express our sympathy to them. We had a meeting with PM Modi and tomorrow morning we are travelling to Kuwait. We will take stock of the situation and those who are admitted to the hospital," Union Minister of State (MoS) for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh told ANI.

The MoS highlighted that the maximum Indian workers are from Kerala and other parts of South India.

"The maximum people are from Kerala and other parts of South India and the identification process is underway...," he said, adding, "We will stay there as long as we are needed."

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief over the fire incident in Kuwait which took place on Wednesday.

PM Modi expressed his sadness over the fire mishap in Kuwait City adding that his thoughts are with the family and close ones of the victims of the incident.

He further assured that the Indian embassy in Kuwait is closely monitoring the situation and working with the concerned authorities for further assistance.

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