Fire kills 19, mostly children, in Qatar mall
Source: BI-ME with Reuters , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:03 pm

ATAR. At least 19 foreign nationals, including 13 children, were killed in a fire that ripped through an upscale shopping mall in Qatar on Monday, the country's interior ministry said.

The children were from New Zealand, Spain, Japan, the Philippines, and Benin, among other countries. A Spanish diplomatic source in Madrid told Reuters that four of the dead children were Spanish.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blaze, which media reports said broke out at a childcare area at the Villagio Mall in Doha's west.

Qatar's interior ministry only confirmed that the fire had started somewhere between Gates 3 and 4 in the mall and that an investigation was under way.

"There don't seem to have been any fire alarms or sprinklers at the mall," a relative of a two-year-old child who died in the fire told Reuters, speaking by phone from Qatar's Hamad hospital.

A ministry official said that all buildings in Qatar abide by safety regulations "with no exceptions" and that an investigative committee would be formed to look into safety requirements issues.

Smoke was seen billowing from the mall, which was evacuated. Ambulances and police vehicles blocked entry into the shopping complex.

"We tried to get to the children's area but the extremely high heat stood in our way," Brigadier Hamad al-Duhaimi of the Qatari civil defense told reporters.

A ministry official told journalists that none of the dead were Qataris. Four of the dead adults were teachers and the other two were civil defense personnel, the official said. Seventeen people were wounded, including four children, the official said.

The dead included three New Zealand children, believed to be two-year old triplets, who were in the childcare centre.

"The family are obviously dealing with terrible grief," Prime Minister John Key told reporters.

"Obviously there are very serious questions that will need to be answered," he said.

Many expatriates live in Qatar, a gas- and oil-rich Gulf Arab state with one of the highest standards of living in the world.

The Villagio Mall, which opened in 2006, is an Italianate-themed shopping complex with a hotel, theme park and canal plied by gondolas.

 

MIDDLE EAST BUSINESS COMMENT & ANALYSIS

date:Posted: December 6, 2016
UAE. Knowledge Summit 2016: "Over 2 billion jobs will disappear by 2030 and that is the hidden results of our rapid technology growth. But, if we understand all these hidden consequences we can create jobs at a much higher rate".
date:Posted: December 5, 2016
UAE. Succession planning is the biggest challenge in the next five years; Middle East family businesses need to grow in double digits every year to sustain the family's intergenerational wealth; Slow or no progress on strategic planning could impact growth.
date:Posted: December 4, 2016
SAUDI ARABIA. Despite experiencing 30% growth in the last five years, e-commerce upside potential in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia remains huge according to a BCG report.
dhgate