DNA collection underway for unidentified victims of Mahdia dorm fire – President Ali updates

A specialised team has begun collecting DNA samples from the unidentified victims of the tragic Mahdia fire, as well as the grieving parents.

President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali confirmed on Tuesday, during a live update, that the collected samples will be sent to the prestigious Mount Sinai laboratory in New York for analysis.

The matching results are anticipated to be available by Friday, May 26.

The president was at the time sharing the latest development regarding the ongoing efforts to identify the children who lost their lives in a devastating fire at the Mahdia Secondary School female dormitory.   

“We had to use the Mount Sinai lab in New York because this lab provides the shortest return time in terms of the results,” he said.

He explained that due to the severity of the fire, a number of bodies were burnt beyond recognition, necessitating the expertise of the specialised team in collaboration with the Barbados Government.

Barbadian Forensic Pathologist, Dr. Shubhakar Karra Paul arrived in Guyana early Tuesday to assist in the process.

Providing an update on the health status of the surviving victims, President Ai said three girls are currently in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), with two of them classified as critical.

According to the president, in the High Dependency Unit (HDU), two girls are considered stable and showing signs of improvement. The four girls in the open ward are also making progress in their recovery.

Eight girls were brought to Georgetown for a second assessment. President Ali expressed his expectation that the rest of the students will be brought out shortly.

“We have offered to bring all the remaining girls to Georgetown even those who were discharged so that we can have a second review and make sure everything is okay,” he explained.

A comprehensive team consisting of psychiatrists, counselors, and social workers have been assembled to offer counselling services to the students, their families, teachers, and members of their respective communities.

The head of state said currently, four teams are operating daily from Mahdia, and these teams are expected to continue their support for the next three months.

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