Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 14 July 2024 8.01 AM IST

Kuwait fire: Tragedy due to deplorable condition of housing units


The incident in which 49 people, including 24 Malayalees, died in a fire in a six-storey building in Kuwait where the workers of a Malayali businessman's company lived is extremely tragic and shocking. These people must have crossed the sea and gone to the land of sand dunes with lots of hope and dreams. The fact that the ones who went abroad to make all those dreams come true is no more is something beyond what their families can bear. It is also reported that the condition of many of the 35 people who are undergoing treatment in the accident is very serious. So the death toll is likely to rise. The ones who died were the workers of the company owned by Malayali expatriate businessman KG Abraham.

Following the incident, some of the owners of the building and the company, the building's Egyptian security guard and other related officials have been arrested. The Kuwaiti government has announced that strict action will be taken against the ones who are responsible. The state government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the family members of the deceased Malayalees. One lakh rupees will be given to the injured Malayalees. The central government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of the deceased Indians. It is commendable that prominent Malayali expatriate businessmen have also come forward to announce assistance apart from the financial aid announcement by the government. The state government has been informed that Yusuff Ali will pay Rs 5 lakh each and Ravi Pillai will pay Rs 2 lakh each.

NORKA hopes that more industrialists will contribute. Efforts are being made under the leadership of the Union Ministry of External Affairs, NORKA and expatriates to provide all possible assistance to the accident victims. It is praiseworthy that the Central Cabinet meeting decided to send Union Minister of State for External Affairs Kirti Vardhan Singh to Kuwait to coordinate relief operations immediately after learning of the incident. The Kuwaiti government has also stated that they will pay compensation from their side. Even though the aid money is not a replacement for the deceased person, nothing else can be done at this stage to comfort the family.

Such fires also point to the fact that the security arrangements in many housing units where workers live in groups, whether in the Gulf or in our country, are deplorable. About 200 people lived in the flat that was affected by the fire. It is said that the accident occurred due to a short circuit and the fire started from gas cylinders. In any case, keeping so many gas cylinders under the building without adequate security is a serious violation of the law. Regular safety audits are a must wherever more than 50 people live together. We have to prevent such incidents in the future. Along with the nation, we also share the grief of the families of the deceased.

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