A school fire killed at least 25 children and injured dozens more in Niger on Monday, the country’s health minister said. He also said it was impossible to determine the exact number of dead and injured before emergency personnel finished searching through the charred remains of the school. The fire broke out in the morning at the Hassan Abdille public primary school and burned all the buildings. “The magnitude of the damage is beyond imagination,” Health Minister Mohammedou Harouna said.
President Mahamadou Issoufou visited the school on Monday evening and talked to the parents of the dead children. State TV showed tears in the eyes of him and Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, while Issoufou spoke to parents.
Several schools in Niger closed last week after several children died in a fire at the Aleso primary school in the country’s northeast.
The fire in the school, located about 140 miles south of the capital, Niamey, was put out immediately and authorities said they do not believe there was any link between the incidents.
Those children who died in Monday’s school fire were mostly between ages 5 and 11, the state news agency APS reported. Most of them were students in grades 4 and 5, but others were likely also in classes.