Iraq: at least 100 dead in fire at wedding

At least 100 people died in Iraq and 150 others were injured overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday in a fire during a wedding in a village hall in Al-Hamdaniya, a small town in the north of the country, according to authorities

Iraq: at least 100 dead in fire at wedding

At least 100 people died in Iraq and 150 others were injured overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday in a fire during a wedding in a village hall in Al-Hamdaniya, a small town in the north of the country, according to authorities. sanitary facilities. At the main hospital in Al-Hamdaniya, a small predominantly Christian town located east of the metropolis of Mosul, a photographer from the France-Presse agency saw several ambulances arriving, sirens blaring. Dozens of people were gathered in the courtyard of the establishment, relatives of victims or residents who came to donate their blood, according to the same source.

Residents were also gathered in front of the open doors of a refrigerated truck carrying several black body bags, according to the photographer. Health authorities in Nineveh, the province where Al-Hamdaniya is located, “have recorded 100 deaths and more than 150 injured in the fire in a wedding hall,” announced the official Iraqi news agency INA, citing a “preliminary assessment”. Health Ministry spokesperson Saif al-Badr confirmed this report to AFP.

In a press release, Civil Defense reported the presence of prefabricated panels “highly flammable and contravening safety standards” in the party room where the tragedy took place. “The fire caused parts of the ceiling to fall, due to the use of highly flammable and inexpensive construction materials,” according to the same source.

“Preliminary information indicates that fireworks were used during a wedding, which started a fire in the venue,” the statement added. In Iraq, safety standards are poorly respected, whether in the construction or transport sector. The country, with its infrastructure in disrepair after decades of conflict, is regularly the scene of fires or fatal domestic accidents.