At least 18 Indian workers were among 23 killed in an LPG tanker blast at a ceramic factory in the Sudanese capital Khartoum on Tuesday.
The blast also left over 130 people seriously wounded.
India has set up an emergency hotline, while an Embassy representative rushed to the site.
The blast hit Salomi ceramic factory after a fuel tanker was unloading gas at the tile manufacturing facility, the government said. Thick plumes of black smoke billowed into the sky after the blaze broke out at tile manufacturing unit.
Following the news of blaze, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar tweeted: “Have just received the tragic news of a major blast in a ceramic factory “Saloomi” in the Bahri area of the capital Khartoum in Sudan. Deeply grieved to learn that some Indian workers have lost their lives while some others have been seriously injured.”
“The Embassy representative has rushed to the site. A 24-hour emergency hotline +249-921917471 has been set up by @EoI_Khartoum. Embassy is also putting out updates on social media. Our prayers are with the workers and their families,” he added.
He further said that the Indian Government is working with the Sudanese authorities to facilitate the identification of the deceased at the earliest.
At least 68 Indians were working at the ceramic factory ‘Seela’ in Bahri area of Khartoum at the time of the LPG tanker blast on Tuesday evening.
The Indian embassy in Khartoum said: “As per latest reports, but so far not confirmed officially, 18 are dead.”
It added that “some of the missing may be in the list of the dead which we are still to receive as identification is not possible because of the bodies being burnt”.
The embassy listed seven Indians as admitted to the Al Amal hospital in Bahri, Khartoum, including three in the ICU.
It listed 16 Indians as missing, and gave a list of 34 Indians as having survived the accident.
Most of the Indians are from Bihar, UP, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed his grief over the loss of lives in the incident.
“Anguished by the blast in a ceramic factory in Sudan, where some Indian workers have lost their lives and some are injured. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured. Our Embassy is providing all possible assistance to those affected,” he tweeted.
Anguished by the blast in a ceramic factory in Sudan, where some Indian workers have lost their lives and some are injured. My thoughts are with the bereaved families and prayers with the injured. Our Embassy is providing all possible assistance to those affected.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 4, 2019
West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee tweeted: “Saddened at the demise of 18 Indians in LPG tanker blast in Sudan. My condolences to the bereaved families. Our country’s workers are placed in different parts of the world and face various risks. May all stay safe.”
Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot also tweeted his anguish over the accident.
Saddened to get tragic news that many Indians workers hv lost lives in a major blast in a ceramic factory in #Sudan n some are seriously injured.Heartfelt condolences to families of deceased n pray they find strength in this difficult time. I wish speedy recovery to those injured
— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) December 4, 2019
Sudan has suffered from various industrial accidents in recent months, raising concerns about the adequacy of health and safety regulations.
In March, a fire broke out due to a short circuit in offices at the old Republican Palace in Khartoum.
The palace was the official office of the Sudanese government before ousted President Omar al-Bashir switched to another in recent years.
Al-Bashir, who took power after he led a coup in the oil-rich country in 1989, was deposed and arrested in a military coup in April that came after months of anti-government demonstrations.