The incident occurred at a hall in the Handaniya area of Iraq’s Ninewah province. Located on the outskirts of Mosul, this area has a large Christian population.
“All efforts are being made to provide the necessary assistance to all those affected by the unfortunate accident. 150 people were injured in the incident,” Saif Al Badr, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told the state-owned Iraqi News Agency.
TV footage showed huge flames and thick black smoke coming from the wedding hall. After the fire was extinguished, only charred metal objects and debris were left inside. When people went to the place where the fire was extinguished, only the light of their mobile phone torch and TV camera could be seen.
The injured have been admitted to local hospitals and are being provided with oxygen. The situation of many of them is alarming.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammad Shia Al Sudani has ordered an investigation into the cause of the fire. The Prime Minister’s Office said that the country’s home administration and health authorities have been instructed to provide appropriate relief.
Due to illegal construction
The cause of the fire is still unclear. But Kurdish news channel Rudaw reported that the fire was caused by fireworks being set off at the site.
The outside of the wedding hall was decorated with burning materials. This is illegal in Iraq, civil defense officials said.
“As a result of the use of highly flammable, low-cost building materials, parts of the hall collapsed shortly after the fire broke out,” he said.
The disaster has come as a shock to the dwindling number of Christians in Iraq. In the last two decades, terrorist organizations Al Qaeda and ISIS have been carrying out violent attacks against Christians here. Some towns have been destroyed without infrastructure. Thus many Christians have left Iraq and migrated to countries like Europe, Australia or America.