Mahdia tragedy: President says ‘every conceivable’ action will be taken to support fire victims
Support for family members, parents and caregivers of the 19 children who died when a fire ripped through the Mahdia Secondary school female dormitory Sunday night is the main priority for the government, President Irfaan Ali said in a visit to the town, vowing that no effort will be spared during this “difficult” path.
“I want to assure all of you that no effort will be spared. Every conceivable help, every conceivable assistance, every conceivable action that is required of the Government, we will do, we will support and we will ensure that we are with you not only this day but through this difficult time,” President Irfaan Ali told residents on Monday during a visit to the community plunged into mourning.
“At this time, we are going to deal preliminary with the parents, family members,” he said.
“Let us give the family members the opportunity to talk to us,”
The President, who was accompanied by Prime Minister Brigadier (retd) Mark Phillips, Minister of Education Priya Manickchand and Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn, held a private meeting with family members of the fire victims’.
President Ali outlined that a number of measures that will be put in place.
He said efforts are currently being made to have expertise from the Region to visit the town to support the identification of the children while counselling services will also be provided to the affected families and the community in general.
And, arrangements are already being made to ensure the children who will be discharged will be “properly” accommodated with their parents, Ali said.
“This is beyond tragic. This is very, very difficult. We are going to ensure that every asset available to us is deployed with support,” the President noted.
Once this period is over, President Ali promised that detailed statement from all agencies will follow.
“The investigations are ongoing. There are some initial report that will be given in the detail statement,” he said.
“I am asking if we can give some opportunity before we have the full engagement of everyone. If you can allow us a full opportunity with the family members, the parents , after which we will give everyone an opportunity to say what they want to say and to raise whatever concern they want to raise,” the Head of State pleaded with members of the community.
19 persons perished in the fire which started at around 23:40hrs Sunday.
Those identified so far are: Bibi Rita Fiona Jeffery and her cousins Sabrina John, 16, Loreen Evans, 14. Those three, along with Belnisa Evans,13, were all from Karisparu Village.
The other girls identified are twin sisters Mary and Martha Dandrade, 15, along with sisters Delecia, 15, and Arianna Edwards, 13 and Andrea Roberts, 13 were from Micobie village. The others to be named as death are Omefia Edwards, Natalie Bellarmine, and Eulanda Carter.
A five-year-old boy, Adonijah Jerome, also perished also in the fire. He was the son of one of the house parents.
A total of 29 girls were rushed to the Mahdia Hospital. Six of the injured girls were airlifted to Georgetown for treatment; they are nursing serious burn injuries.
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.
An estimated 56 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.