A devastating fire at a wedding hall in Iraq's northern Nineveh province has claimed the lives of over 100 people and left approximately 150 individuals injured, as reported by state media.
The horrific incident unfolded as fireworks were lit during the celebration at a large events hall in the northeastern region.
The aftermath of the tragedy saw civil defence teams tirelessly searching the charred remains of the building for survivors, their efforts stretching into the early hours of Wednesday.
Deputy Governor of Nineveh, Hassan al-Allaq, confirmed that at least 113 people had lost their lives, while state media initially reported the toll to be no less than 100, with 150 others sustaining injuries.
Eyewitnesses recounted the harrowing scene, with the fire rapidly spreading through the venue. Imad Yohana, who managed to escape the inferno, described the pulsating fire emanating from the hall, leaving those trapped struggling to make their way to safety. The blaze had a devastating impact, causing parts of the ceiling to collapse due to the highly flammable construction materials used in the building.
Video footage captured by a Reuters correspondent exhibited the valiant efforts of firefighters as they navigated the charred wreckage, their lights illuminating the smouldering ruins. Preliminary investigations revealed that the building was constructed using highly flammable materials, a significant factor contributing to its swift collapse.
Prompt response efforts were initiated, with ambulances and medical teams dispatched to the site by both federal Iraqi authorities and Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. The incident occurred at approximately 10:45 p.m. local time, with hundreds of individuals in attendance at the event hall at the time.
Safety standards within Iraq's construction and transport sectors are often overlooked, and the country's infrastructure, ravaged by years of conflict, remains susceptible to fatal fires and accidents.
The presence of hazardous, flammable materials within the event hall underlines the urgent need for improved safety regulations to prevent such tragic occurrences in the future.
The nation grieves for the lives lost and stands united in supporting the victims and their grieving families during this difficult period.
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