20 children killed in Niger school blaze
Published: 12:37 PM, 14 April 2021
A straw hut classroom in Niamey, the capital of Niger; Photo: AFP
At least 20 children died on Tuesday after several classrooms caught fire at a school in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
According to AFP, citing fire service commander Sidi Mohamed, 21 classrooms in straw huts caught fire. Around 20 children were trapped in the blaze.
“Rescuers set off rapidly and the fire was put out but the power of the fire was enormous,” he said. “The children were not able to escape.”
The country’s public television, citing witnesses, reported that the fire took place on Tuesday afternoon at the local time “when the victims were in class”.
However, the cause of the fire was not known.
Niger’s Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou visited the spot and offered his condolences to the children’s parents.
Niger authorities have built thousands of straw huts to serve as classrooms, with children sometimes seated on the floor. So, fires in these buildings are fairly common due to the flammable materials used, but such accidents have rarely proved fatal.- AFP