President Ali heading to Mahdia to offer support to affected families

Even as medical evacuation efforts continue in light of the devastating fire that claimed the lives of at least 20 children at a dormitory in Mahdia, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), and left others injured or in critical condition, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali is preparing to travel to meet with the relatives of the deceased and injured.

National Security Advisor, Gerry Gouveia, made the disclosure to the media on Monday morning at the Ogle International Airport, where an emergency centre has been set up to examine and transfer patients to the Ocean View Intensive Care Hospital and Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC).

Gouveia noted that the medevac is a national effort that is still ongoing, and expressed respect and appreciation for those pilots and personnel who responded immediately.

The medevac got underway early Monday morning

“It was really a national effort and still continues. All the operators—Trans Guyana, Roraima, GDF, the Air Force— responded immediately as the horrific details came to us this morning. It was a battle for us, because of the weather. There was a lot of lightning and thunder, and Mahdia is in the mountains. [But] the pilots were very brave and very determined, and the air services pilots were already on the ground, so we were able to alert them, and they brought out the first three sets of patients.

“It was really a massive operation, and one that was done in very dangerous conditions, but… this is a case where everybody put their shoulder to the wheel, and they made a gigantic effort to try to save who we could have saved. And I think a great effort was made,” he noted.

While President Ali stayed to oversee the operations, he subsequently left to begin the preparations for the trip. Prime Minister, Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips travelled ahead of His Excellency to lead a ministerial team including Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand, and Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, to provide support to affected families in Mahdia.

“It’s a day of mourning for all of us. For this country, every man, woman, and child, and certainly every parent, their heart will go out to the parents of those children.

“And I know today the president is going to visit those parents, meet with the people, see what it is that we can do, and understand what really happened here last night,” Gouveia added.