The fire was started by the use of fireworks, according to initial findings.
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The party turned into tragedy. At least 100 people died and 150 others were injured in a fire at a wedding at a banquet hall in northern Iraq’s Hamdaniyah, near Mosul, according to a “preliminary assessment” announced Wednesday September 27 by the official Iraqi press agency INA. The spokesperson for the Ministry of Health, Saif al-Badr, confirmed this report to AFP. “Most of the injured suffer from burns and asphyxiation”he said, also reporting shoving.
“Preliminary information indicates that fireworks were used during a wedding, which started a fire in the venue,” explains Civil Defense. The flames then caused “the falling of parts of the ceiling, due to the use of highly flammable and inexpensive construction materials”. Civil Defense reported the presence of prefabricated panels “highly flammable and in violation of safety standards”.
Poorly respected safety standards
Prime Minister Mohammed Chia al-Soudani called on the Ministers of Health and Interior to “mobilize all rescue efforts” to help the victims of the Hamdaniyah tragedy. For its part, the Ministry of Health announced “sending medical aid trucks” from Baghdad and other provinces of the country, ensuring that its teams in Nineveh were mobilized to “treating the wounded”.
In Iraq, safety standards are poorly respected, whether in the construction or transport sector. This country, with its infrastructure in disrepair after decades of conflict, is regularly the scene of fires or fatal domestic accidents.
In July 2021, a fire in the Covid unit of a hospital in southern Iraq cost the lives of more than 60 people. A few months earlier, in April, the explosion of oxygen bottles had started a fire in a Baghdad hospital dedicated to Covid, and left more than 80 dead.