Kuwait Fire Brings Issue Of Labour Overcrowding And Neglect In Limelight

A fire broke out in a workers' building in Kuwait’s Mangaf City, killing nearly 49 people

A fire broke out in a workers’ building in Kuwait’s Mangaf City, killing nearly 49 people

Early Wednesday, a fire broke out in a workers’ building in Kuwait’s Mangaf City, killing nearly 49 people, out of whom 41 were Indians aged between 20 and 50 years. Others were badly injured. S. Jaishankar took to his social media account ‘X’ to express his condolences. PM Narendra Modi held a meeting at his residence to review the situation of this incident.

The fire started at around 6 a.m. in the kitchen of a six-story building. Around 160 workers were living in this building, out of which mostly workers were from India. The Indian workers were mainly from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and northern states. Four Indian men were identified as Stephin Abraham Sabu, Kenu Ponmaleri, Rajnath, and Umarudheen Shameer.

Indian Embassy in Kuwait establishes emergency helpline number

In this fire incident, almost 30 Indians were injured and are admitted. At the Al-Adan hospital, ambassador Adarsh Swaika visited to meet the injured Indian workers receiving medical treatment. The Indian embassy said, “The Indian Ambassador met a number of patients and assured them that assistance will be provided from the embassy. Almost all the workers are reported to be stable by hospital authorities.” The Indian Embassy has started a helpline number +965-65505246 for family members of the victims to get in touch with them. 

The external minister of India also assured the full assistance of the Indian Embassy to the victims.

Kuwait building fire ‘a result of greed’

Sheikh Fahad Al-Yousuf Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s Deputy Prime Minister, and also the Interior Minister, have blamed the company and building owners for this fire incident. The minister said, “This fire incident is the consequence of the greed of the building and company owner.” Reportedly, the building is owned by KG Abraham Malyali businessman and is rented by the NBTC group. Low-paid workers in the Gulf used to live in these crowded accommodations. The minister has already issued the orders to the Public Authority for Manpower and Kuwait Municipality to take actions immediately and to resolve similar violations where large numbers of workers are living in one residential building and to ensure all safety requirements are being taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

According to the reports, the building of workers in Kuwait might have been overcrowded. After the fire incidents, concerns have been raised regarding the living conditions of the workers, and actions are being taken against the building owners. According to The Kuwait Times Newspaper. “The owners violate the law to keep large numbers of foreign labourers in extremely dangerous conditions to cut costs.” As per the local media reports, 196 workers were living in the building, and it may have been overcrowded.

Kuwait’s high dependency on migrant labour

Almost two-thirds of Kuwait’s population consists of foreign workers. The country today is highly dependent on migrant labourers, especially in sectors like domestic and construction. The reports of the local media have highlighted that the workers building might be overcrowded, and in the building almost 196 workers were living.

A senior police official stated that there were a large number of people in the building during the time of the fire incident. Concerns were raised regularly by the human rights groups regarding the living conditions of the workers.

Kuwait opens up its labour market

The Public Authority for Manpower of Kuwait has made it easier for the companies to issue work permits without any restrictions for foreign workers. As per the reports by local media, employers in Kuwait can now easily hire foreign workers as per their requirements, with each work permit costing KD150. This new system replaced the old one where employers had to follow limited hiring of 100%, 50%, or 25% of their foreign workers.

This new system was expected to help the businesses adapt more easily and quickly to labour market demands and make it easier to bring foreign labour, potentially changing the economic landscape of Kuwait.

About Right Sider

AvatarRight sider is a passionate writer who has traveled extensively around the world, learning about the history of all the regions and walking the paths of his characters.

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