Georgetown, Guyana: At least 19 students were killed in an overnight fire that raced through the Secondary School dormitory in Guyana. As per the latest update, the fire broke out at around 10:50 pm.
The school is located in the border town of Mahdia, a gold and diamond mining community which lives 200 miles south of Georgetown. It has been reported that the school served the local indigenous communities of Guyana.
It was informed that around 59 girls usually lived in the dorm, but at the time of the fire, there were 56 girls in the rooms. Out of the total, nineteen (19) has declared dead – thirteen (13) girls and one (1) little boy died at the dorm, and the remaining five (5) died at Mahdia Hospital.
The government further informed that the injured seventeen (17) students are being treated in the local hospital. At the same time, six (6) students are flown to Georgetown, where a special treatment cell has been installed by the government for better treatment.
The condition of the students was surveyed by the higher authorities of Guyana, who also promised continuous support to the healing students.
President Irfaan Ali reached the hospital to meet the students and their families and committed to ensuring adequate support for those affected by the horrific fire at the Mahdia Secondary School’s dormitory.
While assuring full support, he stated, “I’m committing, as I have done to the family members already, our full unconditional, unhindered support for the families and these children, whether it be medical, social, counselling, financial, transportation, accommodation- whatever the form of support required, the state will provide that support to the families, to the children.”
The President also declare national mourning for three days.
“I ask that as a nation, we utilize the next three days as three days of prayers for these children, their families, and the community,” he continued.
The government has outlined that as of 4 pm today, the national flag was being flown at half-mast at all public buildings in honour of the children who lost their lives.
President Ali described today as one of the “saddest days” in his life as President and said that Guyana is in pain.
Additionally, Prime Minister, Brigadier (retd) Mark Phillips, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand, along with Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn also visited affected students and distressed families following the deadly early morning fire which has destroyed the Mahdia Secondary School Dormitory.
“A full-scale medical emergency action plan has been launched. We ask that our prayers continue to be with these children, their families, and their communities,” Prime Minister Phillips said.
Many Guyanese gathered to express their heartfelt grief towards the students who lost their lives. One named Safdar Rayman said, “A real tragedy. I am very sad to hear about this but also relieved to see it has the attention of the President, the Prime Minister and other Ministers of government and other officials.”
Yet another named Hemraj Persaud commented, “My deepest condolences to all those families who lost someone in this sad time, my prayers for strength and guidance. Thank you, President and team, for always being there for our people; my prayers for your team dedication always.”
The third Guyanese named Samantha Mangalie, mentioned, “My heartfelt condolences to you all. Prayers for all their family members and friends. May God give you all strength at this time. May their soul rest in peace.”