Mahdia tragedy: Four cousins killed in fire


Four cousins were among those killed in the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory fire.

Bibi Rita Fiona Jeffery was one of the 19 girls who perished.

Her sister, Rihana Jeffrey said she and other relatives are in a state of shock.

“I don’t know how to deal with this situation, but I am not hurt or sad because of the passing of my sister.

“What hurt me the most is I can’t begin to imagine her cries help, the pain, the trauma that she went through,” Rihanna Jeffrey told the News Room on Monday.

“She is the sister that we had prayed for when we didn’t have a sister and it’s very painful to lose her in this way,” she added.

Apart from Jeffery, 18 other girls died in the tragedy. They include Jeffrey’s cousins Sabrina John, 16; Loreen Evans, 14; and Belnisa Evans,13. They were all from Karisparu Village. The other girls identified so far are twin sisters, Mary and Martha Dandrade. A five-year-old boy, Adoni also perished also in the fire.

The News Room understands that firefighters experienced a number of challenges including severe weather conditions in the region before they managed to control the blaze.

L-R: Adoni and twin girls Mary and Martha Dandrade

Of the children who managed to escape the building, 29 were transported to the Mahdia district hospital, where five died.

A number of other students were air dashed to the city for immediate medical attention.

In a telephone interview with the News Room on Monday, Rihanna recalled that she last spoke to Bibi at about 17:15 pm Sunday when she called and provided her with a list of supplies she needed for school.

After the conversation, they made arrangements to talk again this morning.

“Her last word to me was ‘Goodnight, sweet dreams, I love you’ and I tell her back the same thing,” Rihanna cried.

Since she had to study for an examination, Rihanna said she put her phone on silent mode and subsequently fell asleep.

Hours after she said she was awakened by calls and messages informing her of the fire. At that time, her sister could not be accounted for.

“I was told that my sister is nowhere to be found. They don’t know if she escaped or if she is trapped in the walls of the burning fire. They couldn’t find her,” Rihanna recalled.

Later, she received a call with the news that Bibi was admitted to the Mahdia hospital where she succumbed.

An estimated 57 children were housed in the dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary school, in Region Eight.

The school houses girls from Mahdia, Campbelltown, Micobie, El Paso and several other villages in the North Pakaraimas in Region 8.

massive rescue and humanitarian operation has been put in place to deal with the tragedy.

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