Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

At least 41 people have been killed in a fire at a residential building in the Kuwaiti city of Mangaf, the country’s deputy prime minister says.

Video shared on social media showed flames engulfing the lower part of the building and thick black smoke billowing from the upper floors.

At least another 15 people were injured and taken to hospital, officials said. Many of the casualties are said to be foreign workers who lived there.

Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Fahad Yusuf al-Sabah accused property owners of greed and said violations of building standards had led to the tragedy.

“Unfortunately the greed of the property owners is what led to this,” Sheikh al-Sabah, who is also acting interior minister, told Reuters news agency.

“They violate regulations and this is the result of the violations.”

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj-Gen Eid al-Oweihan told state TV that the fire was reported at 06:00 local time (03:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

He said it was now under control and rescue efforts were continuing.

Local media reports have suggested that the building may have been overcrowded.

A senior police officer told state TV that there were a “large number” of people in the building at the time of the fire.

“Dozens were rescued, but unfortunately there were many deaths as a result of inhaling smoke from the fire,” he said, adding that warnings were often issued about overcrowding in this type of accommodation.

No details have so far been given about the workers’ countries of origin or the nature of their employment.

However, unconfirmed reports have appeared in Indian media that some of the dead are from the sub-continent.

Two-thirds of the Kuwaiti population is made up of foreign workers and the country is highly dependent on migrant labour, especially in the construction and domestic sectors.

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