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Home > Mumbai > Mumbai News > Article > Kuwait Disaster Colaba familys hopes crushed after 30 hours

Kuwait Disaster: Colaba family’s hopes crushed after 30 hours

Updated on: 14 June,2024 06:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Vinod Kumar Menon | vinodm@mid-day.com

Abey Abraham and the family learned the heartbreaking truth as Cibin’s sister identified his body in Kuwait

Kuwait Disaster: Colaba family’s hopes crushed after 30 hours

Cibin Abraham who lost his life in the Kuwait fire

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Key Highlights

  1. For over thirty hours, Colaba resident and his family prayed for a miracle
  2. Prayers were unanswered when they learned that Cibin’s elder sister had found his body
  3. The family in Kerala and Mumbai woke up to the news on television

For over thirty hours, Colaba resident Abey Abraham, 40, and his family prayed for a miracle, as they had no information about Cibin Abraham, 31, a resident of Kerala, who was reported missing after a fire broke out at a building in Kuwait, on June 12. Their prayers were unanswered when, on June 13 at 11 am, they learned that Cibin’s elder sister, Ceeba, 33, a nurse in Kuwait, had found and identified his body. She informed me that she was completing the forensic formalities,” said Abey.


Father, son worked for same company
According to Abey, “Cibin worked as a cashier with the NBTC group of companies for the last eight years and hailed from Keezhvaipur village in Pathanamthitta, Kerala. Interestingly, his father Mathia, alias Babu Abraham, also worked with the same company in Kuwait for eighteen years and had returned to Kerala two years ago after his retirement.”



The building where the deadly fire broke out in Mangaf, Kuwait, on June 12. Pic/PTI
The building where the deadly fire broke out in Mangaf, Kuwait, on June 12. Pic/PTI


Last call
The Abey family has now learned that Cibin returned to his second-floor room (shared with three or four others) around 11:30 pm after completing his second shift. As usual, he went to the ground-floor mess for his dinner within the building and later phoned his wife in Kerala. The couple kept speaking for a long time, and he informed her that he was feeling sleepy and would call her the next day. The fire incident happened a few hours later, around 4:00 am. “Cibin was in deep sleep by then, we presume,” said Abey.

Woke up to the news
The family in Kerala and Mumbai woke up to the news on television. The moment the TV screen showed the NBTC camp 4 building in flames, Cibin’s father immediately recognised it as the building where Cibin lived. The family started making calls and were joined by Abey and his family from Mumbai.

“We contacted all the helpline numbers that were flashing on the television, and we tried to reach out to the company,” said Abey. “They said they were still searching for Cibin and were helping the local rescue team. The same was the reply from the NORKA (Non-Resident Keralites Affairs), Kerala, helpline too,” he added.

Cibin with his wife Anjumol
Cibin with his wife Anjumol

“We were hoping for a miracle and presumed that Cibin would be alive. However, on Thursday around 11 am (IST), we were informed that Ceeba, his elder sister, who is based in Kuwait and works for a private nursing home, identified the mortal remains of Cibin,” said Abey.

Father and daughter shared birthday
According to Abey, Cibin would speak to him once or twice a week, and during their most recent conversation, he mentioned that he would be visiting Kerala to celebrate his daughter’s first birthday. He was excited and looking forward to returning to Kerala on a break.

When asked if he had any plans to return to Kuwait with his family, Abey replied affirmatively, stating, “Anjumol (his wife) is a radiologist and had taken a break post her delivery. Cibin had plans to take his wife and daughter to Kuwait in the next few years.”

Cibin recently lost his mother-in-law, and a few months before that, his mother passed away. The family was trying to overcome both losses and was looking forward to celebrating the first birthday of Cibin’s daughter in August. Coincidentally, Cibin was also born in August, on Independence Day – August 15.

My last SMS
“I got elected recently (June 9) as General Secretary of the Colaba Malayalee Association,” was the last message Abey had sent to Cibin around 2 am on June 11 (night 2 am UAE time). “I am not sure if he had read my message or not. All calls made thereafter were not getting through or connected.”

What next
Abey and his family will leave for Kerala soon and will await the arrival of Cibin’s mortal remains from Kuwait to attend the funeral. Attempts made to contact Ceeba, Cibin’s elder sister in Kuwait, did not yield results.  

12 June
Day of the incident

49
No of people who died in the fire in a Kuwait building

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