Country Grieves after 22 teen die in Guatemala

A woman lights a candleA woman lights a candle during a vigil in remembrance of the victims of a fire at a children's shelter, outside the morgue where the bodies are being identified in Guatemala City, Wednesday, March 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)

The death toll has risen to 22 after a fire spread in an institution for disadvantaged children and youth in Guatemala.

The President Jimmy Morales has declared three days of mourning in the country after the fire at the orphanage Hogar Seguro Virgen de la Asuncion, 25 kilometres southeast of the capital Guatemala City.

Wednesday desperate, wailing relatives gathered outside the walls of the home, where police made sure that no one was allowed inside the ten meter tall walls.

The fire must have started when mattresses was torched in one of the dorms. Head of the Guatemalan Social Services, Carlos Rodas, said that some children set fire to mattresses in the continuation of a riot Tuesday.

The home has long been plagued by unrest, with ensuing mass escapes after accusations that employees had sexually abused and mistreated children.

It is supposedly 300 more children there than the 500 the institution is built to handle. Many are over 18 years old, although the home is meant for children aged between 14 and 17.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today