Iraqi Kurdistan PM Restates Willingness to Offer Essential Assistance to Wedding Fire Victims
In the Christian-majority town of Hamdaniya in Mosul province, a joyous wedding turned into a devastating catastrophe as a fire broke out, claiming the lives of at least 130 attendees and causing injuries to over 350 others. The blaze rapidly engulfed the wedding hall, resulting in a high casualty count.
Leaders Respond to the Tragic Incident
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani and President Nechirvan Barzani expressed deep condolences to the bereaved families and ensured the government’s readiness to provide necessary assistance. Health emergency teams were quickly dispatched to the site, with ambulances transferring at least 35 burn victims to Erbil Emergency Hospital for medical treatment. The United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) also expressed shock and sorrow over the tragic loss of life.
According to a survivor, the fire began while the bride and groom were in the midst of their dance. The flames caught the ceiling and consumed the entire hall within two minutes. The frequent occurrence of deadly fires in Iraq is often attributed to the use of substandard construction materials. A similar incident occurred in a COVID-19 ward in Baghdad in 2021, causing at least 44 deaths.
Initial Reports Suggest Possible Causes
Initial reports indicate that the fire may have been caused by fireworks used during the wedding ceremony. The fireworks reportedly ignited the hall’s ceiling, leading to the rapid spread of the fire. Additionally, flammable material used in the construction of the event hall is suspected to have contributed to the devastating blaze. The building reportedly lacked proper safety measures, including emergency exits. The presence of prefabricated panels in the event hall, which are highly flammable and contravene safety standards, further exacerbated the situation.
Hamdaniya, also known as Qaraqosh, is located in the eastern Nineveh Plains. The town, which was ravaged by Islamic State militants in 2014, has been on the path of recovery and rebuilding. However, this recent tragedy has cast a somber shadow over the town’s efforts towards restoration and peace.
Iraq’s Prime Minister ordered an investigation into the fire, underscoring the need for improved building safety regulations and enforcement. The tragic event underscores the dire consequences of lax safety standards and the use of low-quality construction materials, raising questions about the country’s building regulations and their enforcement.
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