Dubai fire tragedy: Bodies to be identified through DNA tests

August 28th, 2008 - 8:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, Aug 28 (IANS) Authorities here are in touch with the relatives of 11 expatriate workers, including 10 Indians, who were killed in a fire at a bachelor accommodation here Tuesday and the process is on to identify the bodies through DNA tests.”Dubai police have been able to contact the blood relatives of the deceased,” an official in the Indian consulate here told IANS Thursday.

“The relatives’ help is needed so that the DNA tests could be done to identify the bodies which have been charred beyond recognition,” he added.

While authorities have named those killed in the tragedy, the individual bodies were yet to be identified.

The bodies are currently being kept at the Dubai Police morgue.

The fire broke out early Tuesday morning at a villa that was turned into a bachelors’ accommodation. The house was located in Naif area in the Deira locality in the heart of Dubai.

The fire began at around 5.30 a.m. when most of the men were sleeping, which is why casualties were high, officials said.

Fifteen workers sustained injuries.

All 10 Indians who died hailed from Metapally Taluk of Karimnagar district in Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, 33 Indian workers who survived the fire have been provided shelter by the Indian mission here.

“We have provided shelter to 33 Indian workers who survived the fire at a separate labour accommodation camp in Al Quoz area of the city,” the Indian consulate official said.

K. Kumar, convenor of the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC), said that arrangements were also being made with various cafeterias to provide food to those affected.

According to reports, the entire second floor of the villa that caught fire was built without authorization from the Dubai Municipality.

“The second storey was built gradually in 2006 and we had been issuing warnings and fines since then, but they simply did not care,” Omar Abdul Rahman, head of the inspection department at the municipality, told the local media.

He said that his office had later asked the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) to cut water and electricity supplies to the building.

He, however, could not confirm whether DEWA had actually cut off water and power supplies.

Though the exact figure of the number of workers who lived in the structure could not be found, various reports put it at over 500.

There were many rooms in the building and additions were made by way of partitions and around 20 people were crammed in each room, it is learnt.

Police here have arrested an agent who was involved in sub-letting the rooms in the building.

Indian Consul General in Dubai Venu Rajamony, who visited the site of the incident, said that most of those dead had been living illegally in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“With this incident it is clear that people should not live in such conditions. Employers should be held responsible, but if they are illegal, we cannot help them,” he told reporters.

The consulate, meanwhile, is in touch with the family members of all those deceased and has promised all help in the repatriation of the bodies.

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