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Authorities said the children were evacuated to the capital after the fire.
At least 19 of the 20 people who died in a “horrific” dormitory fire were children, officials said Monday, after a fire destroyed the building in the Caribbean nation of Guyana.
The Information Department said in a statement that 14 children died at the scene, while five died at the Mahdia District Hospital, according to a statement from the Guyana Fire Service.
It added that seven others were seriously injured, and “a number of others were taken to hospital and injured.”
“It is with great sadness that we provide you with a heartbreaking update on the fire in the dormitory at Mahdia Secondary School” in central Guyana, an earlier DPI statement said. “We lost many beautiful souls in that fire.”
Upon their arrival at the dormitory, the Guyana Fire Service said the building was “entirely” on fire, according to a statement. Investigations are underway to find out the cause of the fire.
The firefighters said that “the firefighters were able to save about 20 students by opening holes in the northeastern wall of the building.” “Our team on the ground is still investigating as we strive to provide clarity as to how the fire started and all other necessary information.”
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Videos broadcast by Guyana Public Radio National Communications Network appear to show the fire.
The Mahdia secondary school residence, where the fire occurred, is at the center of the Guyanese government’s drive to improve the standard of education in the less developed part of the country. Mostly Aboriginal children served, although the authorities could not immediately confirm if any of the children killed were from Aboriginal communities.
Guyana President Mohamed Ifrane Ali said the students are not only from Mahdia, but from Campbelltown, Mikopi, El Paso and several other villages in northern Pacaremas.
Children who need immediate medical attention will receive treatment, according to a statement from the President of Guyana. Medical and psychological assistance will be provided to all other individuals who remain injured and traumatized.
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Pictures showed that the school was badly damaged after the fire.
The Guyanese government earlier mobilized a “comprehensive supported medical evacuation response” after the fire broke out.
In a preliminary statement, the government said, “The Council of Ministers is being kept informed and informed of the latest developments regarding a horrific fire in the dormitory in Mahdia.” The statement added that bad weather complicated early response.
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Ali said that the authorities are trying to locate the parents of the victims. “This is a major catastrophe. This is horrific, it is painful. Many responses must happen at the same time,” Ali said at a press conference Monday morning.
Ali, along with other ministers, visited students and families on Monday, according to a press release.
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