Indian and Bangladeshi workers die in Saudi house fire

11 Indian and Bangladeshi migrant workers die in Saudi Arabia after fire engulfs windowless house
1 min read
12 July, 2017
Firefighters put out a blaze in an old house lacking windows for ventilation. Eleven people died of asphyxiation, and six others were injured.
Poverty often forces migrant workers to live in impoverished conditions in Saudi Arabia [Getty]

Eleven migrant labourers died of asphyxiation in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday in a fire that engulfed the windowless house they shared, Saudi authorities said.

"Firefighters put out a blaze in an old house lacking windows for ventilation. Eleven people died of asphyxiation, and six others were injured" in the southern province of Najran, the civil defence said in a tweet.

The casualties all hailed from India and Bangladesh, it said.

Poverty often forces migrant workers to live in impoverished conditions in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states. Their housing is often unsafe and overcrowded, as they are underpaid and exploited by their employers.

Last year, the Indian government was forced to intervene in the crisis and fed more than 10,000 "starving" Indian labourers stranded in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with no wages after losing their jobs.

India's Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj described the situation as a "food crisis" as the workers were left stranded in the Gulf after losing their jobs, with no money to buy food or to return to India. 

In a series of tweets she warned that Indian migrant workers were facing "extreme hardship" and that two junior foreign ministers will be sent to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to handle the issue.