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Haiti - FLASH : Fire at an orphanage, 15 children died
15/02/2020 06:14:36

Haiti - FLASH : Fire at an orphanage, 15 children died
Thursday evening around 9:00 p.m., a fire broke out in the orphanage of the Church "Compréhension de la Bible" (Understanding the Bible) in Fermathe 55 on the heights of the Capital. At the time of the incident, only 3 adults were present on the scene.

Friday morning, Raymonde Antoine Jean, Justice of the Peace of Kenscoff, went to the scene of this orphanage where 66 children lived in unacceptable conditions "The conditions in which the children lived were really neglected [...] the children lived like animals, in unsanitary premises, crammed into small rooms [...] they slept in bunk beds, some of them in a deplorable state [...]" adding the absence of fire extinguishers

The balance sheet is heavy 2 children died burned in the orphanage and 13 others died asphyxiated by the smoke and gave up the soul in Fermathe hospital. Among the deceased children, there would be young children including babies, says UNICEF, who says it is deeply saddened by the tragic death of these 15 children and calls for the end of institutionalization in Haiti, expressing its most sincere condolences to the families of the victims and to the Haitian people. UNICEF strongly condemns the opening of unaccredited children's homes that do not meet standards set by national authorities.

According to Arielle J. Villedroin, the Director General of the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR), which deplores this terrible tragedy, this orphanage "[...] had not been authorized to operate since 2013. It's a Center which, I believe, receives money from the religious sector, from foreign missionaries, I do not know exactly but without any legality," adding The IBESR has already deployed emergency aid to children surviving from orphanage, pending assessment of the need for comprehensive assistance, including psychosocial support. In collaboration with other partners [...]"

Remember that out of the 754 orphanages in Haiti only 35 have an authorization to operate https://www.icihaiti.com/en/news-28008-icihaiti-social-only-38-of-orphanages-meet-government-standards.html

"According to the statements of a surviving child, the origin of the fire was caused by candles which they had lit to light their rooms, the electricity had a problem [...]"

Following this tragedy, President Jovenel Moïse who went to the scene on Friday morning declared "I am deeply moved by the death of a dozen children, following the fire that started on Thursday evening in the premises of the orphanage [...] I urge the competent authorities to adopt urgent measures to establish the causes of this tragedy."

Justice of the Peace Raymonde Antoine Jean confirmed that an investigation was opened to determine the exact cause of the incident and to identify the persons responsible for the establishment.

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