Fire sweeps through school in Niger, killing 20 children

US & World

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — More than 20 children were killed and dozens more injured when a fire swept through a school in Niger’s second-largest city, Maradi.

Three classrooms made of straw were consumed by the fire at the pre-school and primary school called ‘AFN’, taking the lives of the children aged between 3 and 8, the government said late Monday.

An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the fire and where it started, the Regional Direction of National Education confirmed.

Straw huts are often used as temporary classrooms in overcrowded schools in Niger in West Africa.

In April a fire fueled by high winds burned through an elementary school on the outskirts of Niger’s capital, Niamey, killing 20 children.

Teachers and parents have said that the deaths highlight the dangers of the temporary classrooms.

“Our hearts are with the children and families affected. Our most sincere condolences to the families of the victims and their communities,” UNICEF’s representative in Niger Stefano Savi said in a statement.

“No child should ever be in danger when learning in school,” he said. “UNICEF will continue to work with the national authorities and partners across the country to ensure that children can attend school and learn in safe environments.”

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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