Full compensation for families affected by Mahdia fire

–specialised counselling, foreign treatment for persons with severe burns, President Ali says

GUYANA has made a request to several international health organisations for specialised trauma counselling for the victims and other children affected by the horrific Mahdia Secondary School ‘dorm’ fire that claimed the lives of 19 children.

This is according to President Dr. Irfaan Ali during a press briefing in Lethem, Region Nine (Upper Takatu-Upper Essequibo), where Guyana’s 57th Independence Anniversary celebrations were converted to a Night of Reflection.

“Teams comprising psychologists and counsellors are working around-the-clock with children, parents and teachers in Mahdia. As a result of this, we have identified proactive risks,” the President said.

Seven persons who might be affected by the trauma have already been medevacked to Georgetown for further evaluation.

According to the Head of State, requests have been made to Mount Sinai, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Northwell Health and several other international healthcare providers for support.

“We are hoping that these specialised counsellors will come to support our local team in the community and in the schools, and to support the families during this difficult time.
“We are working in the interest of these children and families; we are working to bring comfort to them,” Dr. Ali said.

Meanwhile, the President hinted that a full Commission of Inquiry (CoI) could be established to prevent the reoccurrence of such a tragedy, since questions have been raised about the building’s safety.

While acknowledging the calls for compensation to the families, President Ali reiterated that short, medium, and long-term support will be provided to those affected.
In the wee hours of Monday morning, Guyana was plunged into mourning after a fire, which authorities have since determined was maliciously set, ravaged a secondary school’s girls’ dormitory in Mahdia, killing 18 girls and one boy, and leaving several injured.

Several of the survivors were airlifted to the capital city for emergency care, and up to press time, two of the girls remained in the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Georgetown Pubic Hospital Corporation (GPHC), and are being considered for advanced treatment in either Texas, USA or Cuba.

Seven girls were also admitted to the Pediatric High Dependency Unit (PHDU) of the GPHC. An emergency team that has been set up to respond to the tragedy has assessed and treated 29 girls, 20 of whom have been discharged.

Families of the injured girls have since been flown out of the hinterland community to be with their children.
Teams of medical and mental health professionals remain in the region, as the nation at large continues to grapple with the gruesome tragedy.

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