The bodies of Mahdia Secondary School students Mary and Martha D’Andrade, Omefia Edwin and Eulanda Carter were laid to rest on Wednesday in their home village of Chenapau, Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni).
Edwin, Carter and the D’Andrade twin sisters were among the 20 who lost their lives following the horrific fire that engulfed their school dormitory on May 21.
The youngest casualty, five-year-old Adonijah Jerome, son of the dorm’s caretakers, was also laid to rest on Wednesday; his funeral service was held at the Eccles Assemblies of God Church on the East Bank of Demerara.
Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwame McCoy, Amerindian Affairs Minister Pauline Sukhai, and Speaker of the National Assembly, Manzoor Nadir, offered support to the family members during the service of this young Micobie, Region 8 resident.
Families and community members are expected to bid their final farewell to eight more girls from Micobie today.
The death toll rose to 20 on Tuesday, when 13-year-old Sherana Daniels of Micobie succumbed to her injuries at the Georgetown Public Hospital(GPHC).
Upon request by the immediate families of the victims who perished in the Mahdia Secondary School dormitory fire, the Government’s support group on Tuesday hosted a Nine-Night reflection ceremony at Duke Lodge in Georgetown as preparations continue to bid the remaining victims farewell.
Minister within the Housing and Water Ministry, Susan Rodrigues, Education Minister Priya Manickchand, Local Government and Regional Development Minister Nigel Dharamlall, Human Services and Social Security Minister Dr Vindhya Persaud, and Public Service Minister Sonia Parag joined the close friends and families of the victims for a night of reflection.
“You have a strong support mechanism at your disposal, and we will be here, as promised, even after the funerals and you bid your final farewells,” Minister Rodrigues assured the families.
The Government had previously indicated consistent financial and emotional support to those affected by the incident, covering meal and transportation costs, and offering hygiene care packages to families and community members.
Each family who lost a child in the tragic fire was also assigned a minister to provide them with individualised support, where needed.
Recognising the emotional toll this incident has taken on individuals, mental health support teams have also been put in place at Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) villages to help those affected to process their loss. These teams will stay in place for three months, as the Government works to also establish a permanent mental health system that would continue to aid individuals in the region.
While there have been some instances of negative comments on social media platforms, Minister Rodrigues has encouraged the families to focus their attention on the outpouring of love and support shown by the vast majority. Other Ministers within the support group shared these sentiments, adding their gratitude to the public servants, social workers, and others who have been giving support to the families during their stay in Georgetown.
Hymns and devotional songs were sung at the request of the families, and words of encouragement were expressed as family members gathered and comforted each other.