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Fire at Girls’ Dorm at Mahdia Kills 19 Students

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22nd of May, 2023. Guyana, South America. GSA News. Guyana News.

Last updated: May 30, 2023 at 17:52 pm

Do not stand at my grave and weep;
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning's hush.
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
-American poet Mary Frye

A deadly fire ravaged the girls’ dormitory at Mahdia Secondary School in the town of Mahdia, Region 8, Guyana, South America leaving 20 dead and several injured. According to the Department of Public Information, the fire started around 11:40 PM on Sunday, 21st of May, 2023. It is not clear at this time what caused the fire.

The government’s Department of Public Information, along with other news agencies, broke the news this morning, 22nd of May, 2023.

“This is a very difficult situation. And whatever it takes, we have to do it. We have to get to those parents. First of all, we have to get the numbers and the names. We have to get this right. And then you have to get to the parents. We have to get to the children. We have to get psychologists and counsellors. This is a major disaster. This is horrific, it’s painful. And many responses have to occur at the same time. So, we’re putting all of that in place.”

President Ali

Initially, a Press Release by the Department of Public Information stated that 20 students were killed in the fire. A few hours later, however, the Government News Agency corrected the figure to 19. Most of the victims were girls aged between 13 and 16 years old.

In addition to those killed in the fire, some students have received life threatening injuries and were air dashed to Georgetown for emergency medical attention. Despite the inclement weather, the government spared no expense in effecting a rescue operation for the injured. President Ali engaged the Guyana Defense Force and local airlines to assist in the rescue operation. Up to this morning, five planes have flown to Mahdia to take medical supplies and transport the injured students to Georgetown.

Several government Ministers, including Prime Minister Mark Phillips, Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, were already on the ground in Mahdia by 9 PM on the same morning. President Ali initially stayed in Georgetown to help coordinate the rescue operations from that side, but in the afternoon, he flew to Mahdia to visit the school and the family of the victims.

President Ali noted that special arrangement has been made with the Ocean View Intensive Care Hospital and the Georgetown Public Hospital to provide emergency medical care to the injured students as soon as they arrive in Georgetown.

The Victims

We will be posting the photos of those killed in the fire here with brief biographical sketches as they become available.

Natalie Bellarmine

Natalie Bellarmine is one of the 19 victims who perished in the Mahdia Secondary School female dormitory fire on the evening of Sunday 21st of May, 2023 💔 May her memory be a blessing 🙏

Sabrina John

16 year old Sabrina John of Karisparu Village, Region 8 was one of the 19 victims who perished in the Mahdia Secondary school female dormitory fire on the evening of Sunday, 21st of May 2023💔 Her funeral will be held on Thursday, 25th of May 2023 at her village of birth. May her memory be a blessing 🙏

Andrea Roberts

13 year old Andrea Roberts of Micobie village was one of the victims of Mahdia Secondary School fire on Sunday, the 21st of May 2023. May her beautiful soul rest in peace and rise in power 💔 May her memory be a blessing. 🙏

Nickleen Robinson

Nickleen Robinson of Micobie village was one of the victims of Mahdia Secondary School fire on Sunday, the 21st of May 2023.💔 Rest in peace and rise in power 🙏 May her memory be a blessing.

Rita Jeffery

13 year old Rita Jeffery of Micobie village was one of the victims of Mahdia Secondary School fire on Sunday, the 21st of May 2023.💔 Rest in peace and rise in power 🙏 May her memory be a blessing.

Adonijah Jerome

5 year old Adonijah Jerome of Micobie village was one of the victims of Mahdia Secondary School fire on Sunday, the 21st of May 2023.💔

He was spending time with his dad, the dorms father, at the time of the tragedy.

Rest in peace and rise in power 🙏 May his memory be a blessing.

Sherana Daniels

13-year-old Sherana Daniels was the 20th victim of the Mahdia Dorms Fire who died on the 30th of May, 2023 – 9 days after the fire – while receiving treatment for severe burns about the body. 💔May her memory be a blessing.

Rest in peace and rise in power.🙏

Heartbreaking: Siblings Hold up Photos of Loved ones Lost in the Mahdia School Fire.

Team Guyana, South America extends heartfelt sympathies to all those affected by this terrible tragedy.

Teenaged Girl Suspected of Starting the Deadly Fire

On Monday, 22nd of May, 2023, the day after the deadly fire, this publication was made aware of rumors circulating that a student of the dorm had started the fire. According to “well placed sources,” the girl was angry because her cellphone was seized as punishment for unbecoming behavior (involvement with an adult male). The girl vowed revenge and made good on her threat by using insecticides as a catalyst for the fire. Reports are that she set a mattress on fire and also sprayed insecticides into the air and lit it –causing the building to burn. She committed the act around 11 PM when most persons were sleeping thus reducing the chances of escape from the burning building. The Guyana Police Force has confirmed that the teenager is the prime suspect in the arson as investigations continue. The suspected culprit escaped without injuries and is under psychological evaluation. Read More…

Photos of the Government Ministers in Mahdia on the Morning of Monday, 22nd of May, 2023.

Candle Light Vigil in Georgetown

President Irfaan Ali has called on all of Guyana to reach out with prayers and good thoughts to support the families, friends, and fellow students grieving over the loss of 19 children during a fire at the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory on Sunday night.

In an address at the Umana Yana this evening at the National Vigil in memory of the victims, the President said that collectively our faith can move mountains.

“As a people, this is a time when we should dig deep into our hearts and reach out with love, reach out with care and reach out with kind words in support of these families and communities.”

Persons from all walks of life paid tribute to the victims by laying flowers and candles. Read More…

Grills Might Have Hindered Students from Escaping Tragic Mahdia Dorm Fire

Heavy grills on the windows and doors of the girls’ dormitory at Mahdia Secondary was blamed for preventing students from escaping the burning building. In addition, questions were raised about fire extinguishers, emergency exits, and the frequency of fire drills. Read Story…

Student of Mahdia Secondary School Attempts Suicide

25th of May, 2023. Well placed sources have informed this publication that a male student of the Mahdia Secondary School has attempted suicide by consuming a poisonous substance. He was medevacked to Georgetown where doctors are wrestling to save his life. Read Story…

Guyana Celebrates Independence Shrouded in Grief

26th of May, 2023. Independence in Guyana is usually a time of celebrations, public parades, and merriments. And while there were still some of these, the atmosphere was pervaded with grief over the Mahdia Secondary School Dorms Fire tragedy. Yes, there were still marches, drums, and performances, but President Ali declared that the traditional Independence celebrations would be transformed into a night of prayer and reflection. Read More…

Teenager Who Set Dorm on Fire to be Charged with 19 Counts of Murder

28th of May, 2023. The teenaged girl, who was also a student of the Mahdia Secondary School, and a resident of the dorm, who is accused of setting the dorm on fire, will be charged for 19 counts of murder as an adult, the police said. Read Story…

One More Mahdia Student Passes Away

13 year old Sherana Daniels died while receiving intensive care treatment for severe burns about the body. She passed away on the 30th of May, 2023 – 9 days after the deadly Mahdia Secondary School Dorms fire. Her death brings the death toll up to 20. Read Story…

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Eric Taylor
Eric Taylor
May 23, 2023 6:48 pm

Maximum Condolences to the affected families in particular and to the people of Guyana in general.

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