Around 50 including Indians killed as building owned by NRI businessman catches fire in Kuwait

News Network
June 12, 2024

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Kuwait: At least 49 people, including many Indians, were killed in a massive fire in a six-storeyed building at Mangaf block in Kuwait's Ahmadi Governorate on Wednesday. 

According to reports, the casualties also include people from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. 

Out of the 35 placed under intensive care, the condition of seven is understood to be critical. At least five people are on ventilator support.

The Indians, who were killed in the fire are Umarudheen Shameer, 33, from Kollam's Oyoor,  Ranjith, Shibu Varghese, Thomas Joseph, Praveen Madhav, Lukose Vadakkott Unnoonni, Bhoonath Richard Roy Anand, Kelu Ponmaleri, Stephen Abraham Sabu, Anil Giri, Muhammad Shareef, Saju Varghese, Dwarikesh Patnaik, P V Muraleedharan, Viswas Krishnan, Arun Babu, Sajan George, Raymond, Jesus Lopez, Akash Sasidharan Nair and Denny Baby Karunakaran.

The building, which accommodates over 195 labourers from the nearby commercial area, housed people from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and North India. The building belongs to NBTC group owned by Malayali businessman KG Abraham. Employees at NBTC's supermarket also lived in the building.

Deputy PM orders action

Kuwait Deputy Prime Minister Fahad Yusuf Al-Sabah visited the site and ordered a police inquiry in the matter. He has instructed the police to detain the owner of the building, its janitor, and the employer of the workers living there until the conclusion of the criminal investigation into the fire. He has also directed the Kuwait Municipality and the Public Authority for Manpower to take immediate action to address similar violations, where a large number of workers are crowded into residential buildings. 

The incident was reported to authorities at 6:00 am local time (0300 GMT), Major General Eid Rashed Hamad said."The building in which the fire occurred was used to house workers, and there was a large number of workers there. Dozens were rescued, but unfortunately there were many deaths as a result of inhaling smoke from the fire," another senior police commander told state TV. "We always alert and warn against" cramming too many workers into housing accommodation," he said, without providing details on the workers' type of employment or place of origin.

Embassy opens helpline

"In connection with the tragic fire-accident involving Indian workers today, Embassy has put in place an emergency helpline number: +965-65505246. All concerned are requested to connect over this helpline for updates. Embassy remains committed to render all possible assistance," the Indian Embassy in Kuwait said in a post on X.

"Deeply shocked by the news of the fire incident in Kuwait City. There are reportedly over 40 deaths and over 50 have been hospitalized. Our Ambassador has gone to the camp. We are awaiting further information," External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in a post on X.

"Deepest condolences to the families of those who tragically lost their lives. Wish early and full recovery to those who have been injured. Our Embassy will render the fullest assistance to all concerned in this regard," he added.

The incident

The fire originated from a kitchen in one of the lower floors within the labour camp at 4.30 am on Wednesday. Preliminary investigation suggests that a short circuit led to the fire. According to sources, the fire quickly spread to all the rooms in the apartment. The presence of gas cylinders aggravated matters.

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News Network
July 16,2024

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Bengaluru: Senior JD(S) lawmaker HD Revanna on Tuesday launched a diatribe against Director-General of Police Alok Mohan in Karnataka Assembly, dubbing him as “unfit” to be the top cop.

But an emotional Revanna also said that his son Prajwal Revanna, the former Hassan MP accused of mass sexual abuse, should be hanged if found guilty.

“If my son has committed wrongs, then let him be hanged. I won’t say no,” Revanna said in his first Assembly appearance after his family was embroiled in the Hassan sexual abuse case. 

“I’ve been a lawmaker for 25 years. I’ve spent 40 years in public life. Against me, some woman is brought to the Director-General’s office. The DG gets the complaint filed. Isn’t he nalayak to be the DG? He’s unfit. This is a shameless government,” Revanna said. 

This riled up members of the ruling Congress, including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who asked Deputy Speaker Ramappa Lamani in the chair to expunge the comments. 

Revanna was arrested on May 4 in a kidnap and illegal confinement case linked to the Hassan sexual abuse saga. 

Revanna rose to speak after Leader of the Opposition R Ashoka drew a comparison between the manner in which Special Investigation Teams (SIT) are probing the Hassan sexual abuse case and the embezzlement at the Maharshi Valmiki ST Development Corporation. 

“Revanna, Bhavani and our former Hassan MLA Preetham...they’re facing an SIT. But that SIT is so strong...all of them went to court seeking justice fearing arrest,” Ashoka said. “But with the other SIT, there’s no fear,” he said, adding that former minister B Nagendra was not summoned for investigation for over 30 days. 

Senior BJP lawmaker S Suresh Kumar interjected. “There’s SIT and there’s SSIT. The SIT is Special Investigation Team. The SSIT is the Siddaramaiah Shivakumar Investigation Team,” he said. Taking exception, Shivakumar said the comment should be expunged.

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News Network
July 8,2024

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A leading general medical journal has estimated that the death toll from Israel’s genocidal war on the Gaza Strip could be 186,000 or even more, translating to 7.9 percent of the population in the Palestinian territory.

In a report published on Friday, The Lancet said the figure includes both direct and indirect deaths from the Israeli onslaught and those still buried under the rubble in the besieged Gaza.

The journal added that it had applied a conservative estimate of four indirect deaths per one direct death reported by the Gaza Health Ministry.

“It is not implausible to estimate that up to 186,000 or even more deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza,” it said.

Israel unleashed its brutal Gaza offensive on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out its historic operation against the occupying entity in retaliation for the regime’s intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, the Tel Aviv regime has so far killed at least 38,514 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza. The ministry announces the death toll only after receiving the dead bodies. 

The figure provided by the ministry is “likely an underestimate,” The Lancet said. “The total death toll is expected to be large given the intensity of this conflict; destroyed health-care infrastructure; severe shortages of food, water, and shelter; the population’s inability to flee to safe places; and the loss of funding to UNRWA, one of the very few humanitarian organizations still active in the Gaza Strip.”

It also called for an immediate and urgent ceasefire in Gaza accompanied by measures to enable the distribution of medical supplies, food, clean water, and other resources for basic human needs.

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News Network
July 6,2024

Mangaluru: Amid a spike in dengue cases in Karnataka, Health Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao launched an awareness campaign in this district headquarters town of Dakshina Kannada to eliminate breeding sites of Aedes mosquito that causes the vector borne disease.

He conducted a house-to-house inspection in parts of the city along with health workers and checked breeding areas of Aedes mosquitoes.

Rao, who is also district in-charge Minister, inspected places where Aedes mosquito larvae were produced in water stagnated in coconut shells, tubs and tyres and observed the measures being taken by Health Department staff to destroy them.

He advised the local residents to be vigilant.

Speaking to reporters later, the Minister said the Department has launched a campaign to destroy breeding sites of Aedes mosquitoes every Friday for dengue control and urged the public to extend their cooperation.

Health workers are engaged in creating awareness among people. People need to ensure that water does not stagnate in places around their houses. Aedes mosquito breeding sites are being identified and destroyed, he said.

"It has been suggested to identify hot spots where dengue fever is more common and open fever clinics. It is advised to conduct dengue testing on people with fever, who come from those regions where dengue is prevalent and provide treatment. This can prevent deaths," Rao said.

The Minister also said his Department along with the Rural Development Department, district administration, local Corporation officials and teachers have been engaged in efforts to control dengue.

According to the data shared by the Health Department, total positive dengue cases reported in the State since January till July 4 was 6,676 and out of these, total active cases were 695. Dengue has claimed six lives in the state in the current calendar year.

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