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Iraq's Heartbreaking Tragedy: Wedding Venue Fire Claims 93 Lives

Thursday, September 28, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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A devastating fire ravaged a wedding venue in northern Iraq on Wednesday, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 93 lives and leaving around 100 others injured, as confirmed by Interior Ministry spokesperson Saad Maan.

The fire engulfed a wedding venue situated in the primarily Christian town of Hamdaniya, located just outside the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, approximately 205 miles northwest of the capital, Baghdad.

Emergency services and eyewitnesses at the scene reported that the blaze was ignited by fireworks within the venue. The emergency rescue service in Nineveh province informed the media that the fire's rapid spread caught everyone off guard due to highly flammable building materials and decorations, including curtains covering the ceiling and walls.

Disturbing videos shared on social media depicted how the fire instantaneously incited panic among the dancing attendees in the ballroom, leading to a frantic scramble for safety, including the bride and groom.

With the flames erupting near the main entrance, the approximately 700 individuals inside the building found themselves trapped.

An eyewitness described the horrifying ordeal: "Shortly after the fire started, darkness enveloped us, and the combination of smoke and cries led to utter chaos. People struggled to breathe, stumbled, and trampled over one another. Shortly after that, a portion of the ceiling collapsed, resulting in further casualties."

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has ordered a thorough investigation into the incident and has requested assistance from the country's interior and health ministries. His office issued a statement online.

A source within the Nineveh provincial government revealed that an investigation would be conducted to ascertain the cause of the fire and whether the venue possessed the necessary permits, considering its inadequate safety conditions.

The source, speaking anonymously due to a lack of authorization to discuss the matter with the media, mentioned that the venue's owner had gone into hiding, and authorities hoped to locate the individual for a legal inquiry regarding the operation of such an unsafe establishment.

Iraq has witnessed similar tragic events in recent times, often attributed to substandard building materials and insufficient safety regulations. These incidents include two major fires in COVID-19 hospital wards in Baghdad and Nasiriyah, resulting in numerous fatalities.

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