A number of families of the victims of the Iraqi wedding fire considered that political corruption and laxity in the application of regulations are behind the disaster that left more than 100 dead and about 150 injured, at a time when the government pledged to hold negligent people accountable, and transferred some of the injured for treatment in Turkey.
Hamdaniya residents, who are rearranging their lives in their hometown village, said the "defeated militants" had failed to kill them, but corruption had succeeded.
"ISIS didn't kill us, but this disaster killed us," Pastor Boutros Cheto commented, speaking in a hall of a local church as mourners buried their loved ones.
Chito lost his parents, two sisters and two nephews in the fire that engulfed a crowded wedding hall in Hamdaniya, also known as Qaraqosh.
"In this country, we always wait for disaster and then deal with the consequences," Cheto said. "Our house is now empty because of greed and corruption."
Arrests and pledges
Government officials announced the arrest of 14 people in connection with Tuesday's fire, including the owners of the banquet hall, and promised a swift investigation and announced the results within 72 hours.
Prime Minister Mohamed Shia al-Sudani visited the victims of the fire at two local hospitals on Thursday.
He said he had directed "the imposition of the maximum legal penalties against the negligent and negligent persons responsible for the painful fire incident".
Witnesses said the fire started an hour after the wedding began when fireworks ignited decorations hanging from the ceiling.
They said the hall had no visible fire extinguishers and few emergency exits, and that firefighters arrived there half an hour later.
The fire is the latest in a series of tragic incidents that have killed hundreds of people across Iraq in recent years, including a fire at a Baghdad hospital in 2021 and the sinking of a river ferry in Mosul in 2019.
All incidents are blamed on negligence, corruption and lax enforcement of regulations.
Lack of safety measures
Government officials say the fire was caused by a lack of safety and security measures and the use of highly flammable materials in the building.
In a sermon punctuated by wailing women dressed in black, a pastor at al-Tahira church in Hamdaniya told mourners that Iraq was interconnected in its grief, but criticized officials for "your corruption and nepotism."
"There is nothing conforming to specifications" in this country, he added.
In this context, the Iraqi authorities announced the transfer of 4 people injured in the fire in a wedding hall in Nineveh province to Turkey for treatment.
"Based on the instructions of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, 4 injured in the tragic fire in the Hamdaniya area were transferred to Turkey for treatment with their companions," a statement issued by the media office of the Iraqi Prime Minister said.
The statement pointed out that the injured are accompanied by a medical team of 10 people, consisting of two doctors, nurses and specialists in first aid.