THE United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday mourned the loss of 11 newborns to a fire in Senegal.
UNICEF said it was “deeply saddened” by the incident which occurred at the Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital in Tivaouane, about 80 kilometres from Dakar, the country’s capital.
“We express our deepest sympathy to the families and communities affected by this tragedy, especially those who have lost their children. No parent should experience the heartbreak of watching their child die.
“UNICEF stands alongside the authorities and partners on the ground to provide support, the necessary assistance to these families and prevent further tragedies,” the UN agency said in a statement.
Senegalese President, Macky Sall said on his Twitter page that he received the news “with pain and consternation.”
Both Sall and the country’s minister of health, Abdoulaye Sarr, were outside the nation when the tragedy struck.
While Sall was in Angola on an official visit, Sarr was in Geneva for the World Health Assembly.
The minister promised to cut his trip short and return home following the incident.
He said preliminary investigations showed that a short circuit caused the blaze.
Wednesday’s inferno occurred a year after a similar blaze killed four newborns at a facility in Linguere, a small town located in the country’s north, in the Louga region.