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9 Indian migrant workers among 11 killed in Maldives apartment fire

According to Sun, there were 38 migrants living in the cramped M. Nirufehi single-window, wooden-floored, three-storey, crowded apartments building in Maafannu district of Capital Male. There is a gas cylinder next to each bed, says the Defence Force.

MALE, Nov 10: Eleven people, including nine Indians were killed in a fire in Male on Thursday morning. The fire occurred at a residential complex lodging foreign workers in the Capital of Maldives in the wee hours. The toll may go up as it is not known how many people were there in the building. According to Sun, there were 38 migrants living in the cramped M. Nirufehi single-window, wooden-floored apartments building in Maafannu district. Police said 14 people were rescued from the building.

Ten bodies were recovered but they were all burnt beyond recognition (The official versions do not tally). One man is in critical condition in the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).

The building was a wooden-flloored three-storey structure. The neighbouring houses also suffered significant damages. There was another fire incident at the garage below recently.

There are conflicting versions on the fire. The fire reportedly followed an explosion. The building in the densely populated tourist destination in the archipelago may have caught fire from the ground floor garage auto service shop. It is also said the poor workers use small cooking gas cylinders which may have exploded. There is a gas cylinder next to each bed, says Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF). The upper floors from where the bodies have been recovered were completely gutted, according to Mihaaru News.

Avas news reported: The fire broke out at a garage in M. Nirufehige early Thursday, and police received reports of the incident at 12:17 am. MNDF was alerted at around 12:30 am and Fire and Rescue were on the scene by 12:33 am. Ninety percent of the fire was contained by 4:00 am, and completely quelled by 4:34 am.

The fire service said that it took about four hours to put out the fire. A security official said the dead included nine Indians and a Bangladesh national.

Maldives president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said that an investigation into the incident is currently underway. “The dangerous fire incident in the city yesterday is a very sad incident. Many people have lost their lives and a large number have been injured. The incident is currently being investigated. Condolences to the families of the deceased,” he tweeted.

"We are deeply saddened by the tragic fire incident in Malé which has caused loss of lives, including reportedly of Indian nationals. We are in close contact with the Maldivian authorities," a tweet by the High Commission of India.

High Commission helpline numbers: +9607361452 ; +9607790701

Male has a population of 250,000 in the archipelago of about six lakh people. Most of them are from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. They live in overcrowded conditions.

Earlier, on August 28, 2020 night, a fire broke out in a building in Capital Male city's Henveiru Ward, where several high profile offices are located. Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF)'s Fire and Rescue Service put out the fire. No one was injured.

There was another major fire incident on April 18, 2016 at the two-storey Coastline store located on the densely populated Capital’s main thoroughfare Majeedhee Magu.

About Maldives

The Maldives, in the Indian Ocean, that spans the equator, is comprised of 1,192 islands in a length of 871 km. In an area of 90,000 sq km, only 298 sq km is dry land. It is located southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 750 km from mainland. The isles are sitting on coral reefs. The best time to visit Maldives is November to April, that is, avoiding the monsoon. A conservative Islamic country, pork products and alcohol are banned. Alcoholic drinks are available in resorts. it is a honeymoon destination. There are 150 luxury resort islands. Tourists need to be careful about Lionfish in the islands. Its spines are highly venomous. The islands are known for water sports and pristine beaches. Fisheries and tourism constitute the major sources of income in Maldives. Prevalence of infectious and vector-borne diseases are high.

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