Nineteen youths die in school girl hostel fire, suspected to be “malicious” act

Nineteen “young man” Died in a fire in Guyana on Sunday evening, May 21 “Harmful” A girls’ school hostel in Mahdia, a landlocked mining town in this small country in northeastern South America.

“It’s a huge disaster. It’s horrible, it’s painful.”, regretted, on Monday morning, President Irfan Ali. The latter declared three days of national mourning and in the afternoon visited the scene of the tragedy with a large government delegation, including the police chief. “We will always be by your side”He started with families.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the fire was mishandled., Guyana Police Chief Clifton Hicken said during a televised conference in Mahdia. However, he did not elaborate on the possible causes, but only specified “Only DNA Tests” An autopsy was carried out on six bodies. “14 youths died on the spot, five died at Mahdia District Hospital”According to a firefighter’s report released in the morning.

The president confirmed the figures later in the afternoon, insisting that a small boy and thirteen young women died on the spot and five died at Mahdia Hospital. Seventeen people are still hospitalized, according to the new report.

Difficult rescue and evacuation

Officials have reviewed statistics regarding the existing population: fifty-nine young women, according to the new report “registered” At the shelter, however, three people went out to spend the weekend at home.

On May 22, 2023, the walls of the Mahdia shelter were blackened by flames.

“Firefighters managed to cut a hole in the northeast wall of the building and save around twenty students.”, according to the Sappers’ report. Security bars were installed on the windows of the concrete building.

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Emergency services said evacuations by aircraft and medical reinforcements were made difficult by heavy rain. The city of Mahdia is about 200 km south of the capital, Georgetown, but the journey by car is one-way and usually takes a day.

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A fire broke out in the girls hostel where the youth were staying “11-12 to 16-17 Years”, a person who arrived with emergency services at the scene said on condition of anonymity. The building was completely engulfed in flames and the walls charred. The tin roof collapsed.

An injured child arrives on a plane at Georgetown Airport on May 22, 2023.

By the end of the morning, some of the victims, about fifty people, expressed their anger after the tragedy in the village of Senabaw, near Mahdia, Agence France-Presse Michael McGarrell, who lives in Georgetown, said by phone. He lost two daughters-in-law.

“Deep Investigation”

“Compensation for our losses”A sign said. “Bars are for prisoners. We want justice.”According to another poster. “Pain, agony, shock… Who will take responsibility? What are we going to tell the parents? », Michael McGarrell, an activist with the NGO Amerindian People’s Association (APA), has frequently clashed with the government over land rights, gold purchases and, most recently, the sale of carbon credits to US oil company Hess.

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“Our hearts go out to the families and loved ones of those affected by this tragedy.”Natasha Singh-Lewis, Opposition MP

Relatives of the victims of the Mahdia fire during Guyana's President Irfan Ali's press conference on May 22, 2023.

“We call on the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the cause of the fire and provide a detailed report on what actually happened. We need to understand how this horrific event happened and take all necessary steps to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again in the future.She added.

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read more: The article is reserved for our subscribers In Guyana, huge oil wealth weighs on general elections

A small, poor English-speaking country of 800,000 people, Guyana, a former Dutch and later British colony, has the largest per capita oil reserves in the world and expects rapid growth in the coming years by exploiting these reserves. Beginnings. Experts estimate that there are about 15 billion barrels of oil reserves associated with significant gas deposits in the Guyana-Suriname Basin.

The world with AFP

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