Wednesday, September 27, 2023 – More than 100 people have been reported dead and 150 others are injured after a fire broke out during a wedding reception in Iraq.
The wedding was underway in Iraq’s Nineveh province early on Wednesday, September 27, Iraqi state media said.
Fireworks are thought to have sparked the blaze at an events hall in the province’s Hamdaniya district.
The Iraqi News Agency cited civil defence officials as saying highly-flammable illegal cladding lined the building’s exterior walls.
Both Iraqi authorities and those from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region sent ambulances to the scene.
Nineveh governor Najim al-Jubouri explained some of the injured were rushed to nearby hospitals. He added that there were no final casualty figures, suggesting the death toll could still rise.
Horrifying images show guests, who managed to escape the blaze, standing on the street while the fire rages.
Another photo shows a woman in a flowing bridal dress just metres from the flames.
Ahmed Dubardani, deputy head of the Nineveh health directorate, later confirmed that both the bride and groom lost their lives. They were reportedly slow-dancing when the fire broke out.
Dubardani told reporters that at least 50 of the injured are in a critical condition.
He added: “The majority of the wounded were completely burned. And some others had 50 to 60 percent of their bodies burned. This is not good at all.”
Survivor Rania Waad, 17, told AFP: “We couldn’t see anything… we were suffocating, we didn’t know how to get out.”
The death toll figure of 100 came from Health Ministry spokesman Saif al-Badr. He added:
“All efforts are being made to provide relief to those affected by the unfortunate accident.”
People have reportedly gathered at the town’s main hospital to donate blood.
Watch videos from the scene below.