Government working to ensure swift medical response following fire at Mahdia girls’ dorm

Government today exhausted all efforts in a full-scale medical evacuation (medevac) following the devastating fire that ravaged the girls’ dormitory at the Mahdia Secondary School in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).

The swift-response initiative saw collaboration among government ministries, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF), and the private sector to successfully mobilise the operation.

This included the deployment of five planes to Mahdia to support the regional health officials with additional medical supplies, medical personnel, and transport persons from Mahdia to Georgetown.

Speaking with members of the media early this morning where an emergency response centre has been set up at the Ogle International Airport, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, noted that notwithstanding the inclement weather conditions posing some challenge to the operation, the medevac was already underway, and information was still being received.

He assured, however, that the government is working to do everything possible to help those children staying at the dorms.

“The full results of what happened are not here as yet. That is not the concentration now. The focus now is on the children to ensure that we do everything, to give them as much help as we can, and that is what we’re doing right now…This is a horrific incident. It is tragic and painful. I cannot imagine the pain right now of the parents, of the children, as a country… We will deal with this morning and we have to together support this family,” he said.

President Ali noted that special arrangements have been made at the Ocean View Intensive Care Hospital, and the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) so that each child in need of medical attention will be able to receive care as soon as possible.

The temporary emergency response centre at Ogle will act as a liaison between Mahdia and the hospitals, ensuring that patients can be examined and moved to hospitals as the planes land.

President Ali stated that all efforts will now be made to contact the parents of the girls to relay the information, as they hail from not only Mahdia, but Campbelltown, Micobie, El Paso, and several other villages in the North Pakaraimas, in Region Eight.

“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,” the president expressed.

Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, is currently at the scene of the fire in Region Eight, while Prime Minister, Brigadier (ret’d) Mark Phillips, is leading a team of officials to the area.

President Ali remains at Ogle with other officials including Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken, and GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan, to receive critical patients and coordinate an emergency plan of action.

The fire at the Mahdia Secondary School girls’ dormitory is speculated to have started at just around 23:40 hrs on Sunday. The scene is currently being monitored.

Up to press time, the death toll stood at 20 persons, with seven in critical or severely injured conditions being prepared for transportation to Georgetown.

Government’s thoughts and prayers are with the families and communities at this time.