President Ali declares three days of mourning, as 19 children die in a fire

President Ali declares three days of mourning, as 19 children die in a fire

Baku, May 23, AZERTAC

President Irfaan Ali has declared three days of national mourning as Guyana mourns the death of 19 school children, who perished after a fire swept through a dormitory at the Mahdia Secondary School 100 miles south-west of Georgetown during the early hours of Monday, according to Guardian.

Officials said that an estimated 57 children were housed in the dormitory and that the students were from the mountain villages of Chenapau, Karisparu, Micobie and El Paso. They said 18 girls and one boy had died. At least 29 children were transported to the Mahdia District Hospital, where five died. Another child reportedly died on her way to the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.

In a nationwide broadcast, Ali said that the national flag will be flown at half-staff at all public buildings in honour of the children.

“I ask that as a nation, we utilise the next three days as three days of prayers for these children, their families and the community,” President Ali said, describing today as one of the “saddest days” in his life.

“There are no words that can describe this magnitude of pain that our brothers and sisters are going through today…We wish this day had never occurred… This is a pain we must carry as a nation and as a family. It is a pain we must share together and support in our prayers,” he added.

President Ali said the government is seeking regional and international assistance to conduct DNA tests on several of the bodies to confirm their identities by matching their remains with their surviving relatives.

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