Mahdia Fire Update: DNA results received; all bodies positively identified

At 12.30 PM on Friday, the Government of Guyana (GOG) obtained the DNA results matching the names of 13 bodies from the Mahdia fire tragedy that were previously not visually identified. The GOG is in a position now to release these bodies to the families of the deceased for funeral arrangements.

DNA analyses were conducted on 14 bodies, the 13 bodies of girls from the Mahdia fire and one body of a boy child who died in the fire as well. The samples from the forensic specimens were obtained from the 13 bodies by a Specialist Pathologist through a bilateral arrangement between Guyana and Barbados while another forensic specimen was obtained from a young boy and was taken by Guyanese Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh. These specimens (obtained) were compared to DNA samples taken from parents and siblings.

The DNA analyses were conducted by the Pathology Laboratory of the internationally-recognised Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in New York City. Dr. Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Professor and Systems Chair, and internationally renowned for DNA analyses, led a team of experts in conducting the analyses.

The Government of Guyana is grateful for the forensic examination and analyses that were done by the pathologist from Barbados, Dr Shubhaker Karra Paul, who came to Guyana under the auspices of the RSS. The Government is also grateful to Dr Nehaul Singh for completing the initial set of post-mortems in Mahdia.

The Government of Guyana expresses its gratitude to the Mount Sinai team that has been working with Guyana over the last year. The Mount Sinai team graciously and generously contributed their expertise to complete the DNA analyses in record time.

The Government of Guyana is also grateful to the Hess Corporation for providing transportation to air-dash and rapidly transport the specimens and samples from Georgetown to New York.       

Arrangements have been put in place by the Guyana Police Force for families to take possession of bodies, when and where, in accordance with their wishes. The Government of Guyana is providing assistance and support to all families for funerals over the following days.