At least 10 people, including nine Indians, were killed and several others injured when a fire swept through cramped lodgings of foreign workers in Male, the Maldivian fire service said.
Officials 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, local media reported.
He added that it took them about four hours to put out the fire.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic fire incident in Male which has caused loss of lives, including reportedly of Indian nationals. We are in close contact with the Maldivian authorities,” the Indian High Commission in Male tweeted.
An evacuation centre has been set up in a nearby stadium, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of Maldives said.
“NDMA has established an evacuation centre in Maafannu Stadium for those displaced and affected by the fire in Male. Arrangements are being made to provide relief assistance and support.”
The Maldivian capital, best known as an upmarket tourist destination, is one of the world’s most densely populated cities.
Foreign workers make up about half of Male’s 250,000-strong population and are mostly from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Their poor living conditions of foreign workers was found out during the Covid-19 pandemic when the infection spread three times faster among foreign workers compared with locals.
Approximately 29,000 Indians live and work in the Maldives and almost 22,000 of them live in Male, the capital city.
They comprise nurses, teachers, managers, doctors, engineers, accountants and other professionals.