Male: At least 10 people have been killed and several others injured when a fire swept through the cramped lodgings of foreign workers in the Maldives capital Male, the fire service said. Nine of the dead are Indians.
The capital of the archipelago best known as an upmarket holiday destination is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, Al Jazeera reported.
Officials on Thursday said 10 bodies were recovered from the upper floor of a building destroyed in the fire, which originated from a ground-floor vehicle repair garage.
“We have found 10 bodies,” a fire service official said, adding that it took them about four hours to put out the fire.
A security official said the dead included nine Indians and a Bangladesh national, according to a report by the AFP news agency.
In a tweet, Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said an investigation into the “dangerous fire incident” has been ordered, Al Jazeera reported.
“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 wrote.
The High Commission of India in the Maldives said it was “deeply saddened by the tragic fire incident”. It tweeted: “We are in close contact with the Maldivian authorities.”
Maldivian political parties have previously criticised the living conditions for foreign workers, who are thought to make up about half of Male’s 250,000-strong population and are mostly from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the report said.
Their poor living conditions were brought to light during the Covid-19 pandemic when the infection spread three times faster among foreign workers compared with locals.