Most of the Indians hospitalised or reported missing after the LPG tanker blast at a ceramics factory in Sudan belonged to Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and authorities are trying to ascertain the identifies of the victims, officials said on Thursday.
The Indian Embassy has issued a detailed list of the Indians who were reported missing, hospitalised, or survived the blast at the Seela Ceramic Factory in Bahri area in Khartoum on Tuesday that killed at least 23 people.
Eighteen Indians were among the dead. No information is currently available on their identities.
“The bodies have burnt beyond recognition. We are trying to establish their identity,” an Indian official told PTI over phone.
The official said one more person died on Thursday and identified the victim as Niraj Kumar Singh from Bihar.
More than 130 people were injured in the blast.
Seven Indians have been hospitalised, with four in critical condition and 16 were still missing.
Out of those reported missing Ramakrishanan, Raja Sekhar and Venkatachalem are from Tamil Nadu, Ram Kumar, Amit Tiwari and Nitish Mishra are from Bihar, Jishan Khan, Mohit Kumar, Hari Nath and Pradeep Verama are from Uttar Pradesh, and Pawan and Pradeep from Haryana.
Intezar Khan from Delhi, Bahadurbhai Somabhai Pagi from Gujarat and Rajasthan’s Jaideep were also reported missing.
“Some of the missing may be in the list of dead which we are still to receive as identification is not possible because of the bodies being burnt,” the official said.
He said that after the identification of the bodies they would be send home for last rites.
Expressing grief at the incident, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said 60 Indians were employed in the factory and 53 of them were understood to be present at the factory and residential area at the time of the accident.
He said the Indian Embassy in Khartoum is in constant touch with the factory management and the embassy staff has been stationed at the site as well.
“We are working with the Sudanese authorities to facilitate the identification of the deceased at the earliest,” he said.
A total of 33 Indians who survived have been accommodated at the Saloomi Ceramics Factory residence.
According to a statement issued by the Sudanese government, the blast in a gas tanker triggered the fire.
“Preliminary observations indicate a lack of necessary safety measures and equipment at the factory, in addition to random storage of flammable materials,” it said.
An investigation has been launched, it added.
Meanwhile, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok, now on a visit to the US, expressed his condolences for the victims and said that preliminary reports indicate the absence of necessary safety tools.
“The random storage of flammable materials contributed to the continuation and expansion of the fire and the destruction of the factory completely,” he said in a statement from Washington.
“The Council of Ministers will form a committee of inquiry to determine the responsibilities and avoid the recurrence of such unfortunate incidents in the future,” he was quoted as saying by Sudan Tribune portal.