Iraq wedding fire: Death toll rises to 113, more than 150 injured

World Wednesday 27/September/2023 22:32 PM
Iraq wedding fire: Death toll rises to 113, more than 150 injured

Baghdad: The toll from the fire, which ripped through a wedding celebration in Iraq’s northern Nineveh province, mounted to 113 people while more than 150 were injured, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday, quoting local officials and emergency services said.

Nineveh Deputy Governor Hassan al-Allaq confirmed the death toll, adding it might still rise. The fire was reported to have started at approximately 10.45 pm local time (19:45 GMT) on Tuesday night.

“All efforts are being made to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate accident,” Iraq’s health ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr said.

Funerals were already taking place for the victims of the fire, as mourning relatives gathered outside a morgue in Mosul, Al Jazeera reported.

“This was not a wedding. This was hell,” said Mariam Khedr, crying and hitting herself as she waited for officials to return the bodies of her daughter Rana Yakoub, 27, and three young grandchildren, the youngest aged just eight months.

Reportedly, 150 people have been injured in the blaze, according to local authorities, the media outlet said.

The deadly fire broke out in the Hamdaniya district of northeast Nineveh governorate. The mishap was set off by candles, and other flammable materials used during the celebration, the Iraqi Civil Defense said.

Nineveh governor Najm Al-Jubouri said the injured were taken to hospitals in Ninevah and the Kurdistan region.“There is no final count of the deceased and injured yet,” Al-Jubouri said, reported CNN citing INA.

Videos from the site showed thick smoke billowing out of the Al Haytham Wedding Hall while crowds and ambulances gathered outside the venue.

According to a wedding guest, the bride and groom were safe but devasted, CNN reported. “The bride and groom are fine. I was just with them now, but their condition is devastating due to what happened to people here,” the guest told the private Iraqi channel Alawla TV.

The wedding hall was covered with highly flammable Ecobond panels that violated safety instructions requirements, CNN reported citing Iraqi Civil Defense.“The fire led to the collapse of parts of the hall as a result of the use of highly flammable, low-cost building materials that collapse within minutes when fire breaks out,” the Civil Defense statement said.

Following the incident, Iraq Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' Al Sudani directed his cabinet to assist the affected people, according to a statement from his office.

Moreover, Sudani has been in contact with the Nineveh governor about the fatal incident and ordered a full mobilization to aid the victims, reported CNN citing INA.