Fri | Jun 2, 2023

At least 20 killed in dormitory fire at school in Guyana

Published:Monday | May 22, 2023 | 8:22 AM
Deadly blaze at Mahdia Secondary School in Guyana. - CMC photo.

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – At least 14 bodies have been pulled out of the dormitory at the Mahdia Secondary School in Guyana that was destroyed by an early morning blaze on Monday, resulting in at least 20 children being killed. 

Officials said that an estimated 57 children were housed in the dormitory as the authorities seek to determine the cause of the fire that engulfed the building.

The students were from the mountain villages of Chenapau, Karisparu, Micobie and El Paso.

They said 19 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.

A government statement said that Prime Minister Mark Phillips, Education Minister Priya Manickchand, and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, have begun to visit affected students and distressed families.

“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,” the statement added.

National Security Advisor Gerry Gouveia said “these children did not deserve to die like this.

“It’s a day of mourning,” he told reporters, as he updated them on the situation.

The government said five planes have already taken off to Mahdia to support the regional health officials with additional medical supplies.

Gouveia described the pilots are risking “dangerous conditions” to fly into the mountain town of Mahdia.

He said getting into Mahdia continues to be problematic.

“There was a lot of lighting and thunder…the pilots were very brave, very determined,” he said, describing the incident as the worst among the tragedies he has seen in his lifetime.

Among those killed is a five-year-old boy, identified as Adoni, whose parents served as the caretakers of the dormitory and lived in an apartment attached to the building.

The boy was reportedly in the apartment as his parents tried to unlock the five doors to the dormitory and save the girls in the school.

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