Kuwait: More than 35 killed in a fire

Kuwait: More than 35 killed in a fire

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior announced today, Wednesday, that more than 35 people died in a fire that broke out in a building located in an area crowded with foreign workers in Kuwait.

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The Ministry of Health said in a statement that the fire that occurred in the Al-Mangaf suburb, south of the Kuwaiti capital, also injured 43 people.

Earlier, a hospital official informed the Minister of Interior, Sheikh Fahd Al-Yousef, that 30 people had been injured, who went to the victims’ bed, according to a video clip broadcast by Al-Jarida daily newspaper.

Witnesses said that the fire broke out in the lower floors of a building inhabited by Asian workers, and quickly spread to the upper floors.

An official at the company that employs them said, during the Interior Minister’s visit, that the building consists of six floors and was used to house 196 workers.

The Director of Forensic Medicine at the Ministry of Interior, Major General Eid Al-Owaihan, said that only three of the dead had been identified.

“We received the first report of the fire at 6am (3am GMT). Brigadier General Owaihan told state television, “Many injured people were transferred to hospitals, and more than 35 people died in the building behind me.”

The victims died of suffocation after inhaling smoke resulting from the fire, and its causes are not yet known, according to Kuwaiti Civil Protection.

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During his visit to the site, the Minister of Interior said that the owner of the building had been arrested as part of an investigation into possible negligence.

The minister told reporters that he intends to ask the Capital Municipality to evacuate all buildings in this suburb that do not comply with security regulations.

The Minister of the Interior assured the press: “We will address the problem of areas crowded with foreign workers and the resulting neglect.”

The nationalities of the victims were not revealed, but the Indian ambassador in Kuwait City, who was contacted by Agence France-Presse, indicated that he was in one of the hospitals to which the wounded were transferred.

The majority of Kuwait's population of 4.3 million are foreign nationals, including workers of mainly Asian origin.

The oil-rich kingdom in the northern Gulf is witnessing repeated political crises due to disputes between the parliament elected by universal suffrage and the Al-Sabah princely family, which holds the main reins of power.

Kuwait witnessed a similar tragedy in 2009 when a Kuwaiti woman set fire to a tent housing women and children during the wedding of her husband, who later married a second wife. The death toll exceeded fifty.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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