New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting his personal intervention in the Sudan explosion which killed at least 18 Indians. “It is learnt from media reports that several people have lost their lives after a fire triggered an explosion in a ceramic factory in Khartoum, Sudan,” Palaniswami was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.

The letter further read, “Among Indian Nationals, three of them hailing from Tamil Nadu are missing and another three have been admitted in a hospital. I request your personal intervention for early identification of the missing people and provision of best medical care for the injured persons.”

The LPG tanker blast at Sudan’s Khartoum killed 23 people and injured over 130 others, stated news agency IANS. Soon after the incident, India had set up an emergency hotline and an Embassy representative rushed to the site.

Reacting to the explosion which took place on Tuesday evening, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday 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.”

At the time of the LPG tanker blast, at least 68 Indians were working at the ceramic factory ‘Seela’ in Bahri area of Khartoum in Sudan. The Indian embassy in Khartoum was quoted by news agency IANS as saying, “As per latest reports, but so far not confirmed officially, 18 are dead,” adding that “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”.

According to the Indian Embassy, seven Indians were reported to have been admitted to the Al Amal hospital in Bahri, three of them 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.

Expressing anguish at the deaths, Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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.”

(With agency inputs)