South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma has sent condolence to the government and people of India following the catastrophic temple fire tragedy at the Puttingal Devi Temple.
The temple fire tragedy killed over 110 people and left over 350 others injured. The people gathered for a fireworks display to celebrate the beginning of the Hindu new year.
As gathered, the fire tragedy started when one of the crackers fell onto a shed where the fireworks were stored. And the flames engulfed part of the temple premises, where some 15 000 people, mostly women and children, gathered for the fireworks performance.
Speaking today, President Zuma said:
“On behalf of the Government and people of South Africa, I send my deepest condolences to the Government of India and to everyone affected, particularly to the families and friends of those killed and injured in the explosion at the temple.”
The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi according to reports, flew to Kollam with a team of doctors to help state authorities cope with the large number of injured people.
He latter twitted that “the fire at the temple in Kollam is heart-rending and shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased and prayers with the injured.”
While the authorities searched for those responsible for illegally putting on the fireworks display that caused the blaze, many worried relatives crowded the Kollam District Hospital, searching for missing loved ones.
A help-desk worker at the hospital said it’s difficult to manage the crowd. “We are just trying to calm them down so that they can give us the information, with which we can help them find their missing relatives,” the worker said.
Meanwhile, it was disclosed that district authorities had denied permission to the temple this year for its annual competitive fireworks show because they were worried about safety.