Saturday, October 28, 2023

Iraq PM visits wedding fire victims as 2 more die from injuries | TOME


Iraq Prime Minister Visits Victims of Deadly Wedding Fire

Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani, visited injured patients and the families of victims in northern Iraq on Thursday, following a deadly wedding fire that claimed the lives of around 100 people. Two more individuals have since died from their injuries.

Arriving in Nineveh province with a delegation of ministers and security officials, Al-Sudani met with the wounded and family members of victims at Hamdaniyah Hospital and Al-Jumhoori Hospital. He also expressed his condolences to victims at the Syriac Catholic Mar Behnam Monastery.

The tragic incident occurred at the Haitham Royal Wedding Hall in the predominantly Christian area of Hamdaniya near Mosul. During the wedding celebration, the ceiling panels above a pyrotechnic machine burst into flames, causing panic among the approximately 250 guests. As a result, around 100 people lost their lives, and the death toll is expected to rise as at least 100 others remain injured, many with critical burns.

Authorities have accused the venue’s owners of violating safety protocols. In response, the Mosul Municipality has called for the closure of hotels, restaurants, and other venues that lack safety approvals or have ignored warnings.

Funeral processions have been ongoing at the Saint Behnam Syriac Catholic Church, where a video circulating on Iraqi media and social platforms showed the bride and groom among the mourners.

The Interior Ministry has stated that highly flammable building materials contributed to the disaster and has accused the owners of disregarding safety and security protocols. Currently, one of the venue’s owners and 13 workers and employees are under investigation for negligence. The government plans to compensate survivors and the families of victims.

To prevent similar incidents in the future, government spokespersons have announced strict inspections of hotels, schools, restaurants, and event venues to ensure compliance with safety standards.

However, one of the venue’s owners, Chonny Suleiman Naboo, has denied neglecting safety procedures and claimed that an electrical fault caused the fire.

This tragic event is the latest to impact Iraq’s Christian minority, which has significantly diminished in size over the past decade. The incident has highlighted the need for improved safety measures and stricter enforcement of regulations to protect the lives of citizens.

The Prime Minister’s visit to the victims and their families demonstrates the government’s commitment to providing support and condolences during this difficult time. The presence of high-ranking officials also sends a message that those responsible for the tragedy will be held accountable.

As Iraq mourns the loss of lives in this devastating incident, it is crucial for authorities to thoroughly investigate and address any lapses in safety protocols. By doing so, they can prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future and ensure the safety of citizens attending public events.

The closure of venues that fail to meet safety requirements is a necessary step towards preventing further tragedies. It serves as a reminder to all establishments to prioritize the well-being of their patrons and adhere to safety guidelines.

Moving forward, it is essential for the government to continue conducting strict inspections and enforcing safety standards across various sectors. By doing so, they can create a safer environment for all Iraqis and restore public trust in the establishments they frequent.

While compensation for survivors and the families of victims cannot undo the pain and loss they have experienced, it is a crucial step towards acknowledging their suffering and providing them with some form of support.

The tragic wedding fire serves as a wake-up call for Iraq to prioritize safety measures and ensure that all venues adhere to strict regulations. By doing so, they can prevent future disasters and protect the lives of their citizens.

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