Guatemala begins burying 36 girls killed in shelter fire

March 10, 2017 | By | Reply More

Guatemala on Friday held the first funeral for 36 teenage girls killed in a horrific fire in a government-run shelter at the center of allegations of sexual abuse and maltreatment by staff.

girlsFlowers and prayers filled a small church in Ciudad Peronia, a southern neighborhood of Guatemala City, as family and friends said farewell to Siona Hernandez, 17, ahead of her burial later in the day.

She was among those who died in the blaze Wednesday in the Virgin of the Assumption Safe Home for children in San Jose Pinula, a village just east of the capital.

The fire broke out in the female living section of the walled facility, killing 19 immediately. The other 17 died in hospital of horrific burns.

Another 10 patients are in critical condition, with burns to all of their body and severe damage to their lungs and throat.

Few are expected to live, according to the director of the San Juan Dios Hospital, Antonio Villeda.

All of the victims were girls aged between 14 and 17.

Siona Hernandez had been sent to the shelter under court order after running away from home. She shared a dormitory with others in the same situation, or girls taken in to escape domestic abuse at home.

“We are all appalled. We still cannot believe this. What we see is there was a criminal hand in those looking after this area,” the local pastor, Jose Alpirez, told.

“This cannot go unpunished. The law must be applied,” he said.

Press journalist for HRO media – Ignacio Damigo reports.

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Category: International

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