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Monday, March 8, 2021

PHOTOS: Qatar residents remember Villaggio fire victims one year on

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More than a hundred people gathered at Aspire Park today to remember the 19 people who died in the Villaggio fire 12 months ago.

Though the turnout was much smaller than a year ago, the crowd was once again composed of a diverse group of friends, acquaintances and strangers who felt touched by the victims and their relatives in some way.

Kim Mathern, godmother to Lillie Weekes, one of the two-year-old triplets killed in the fire, said:

“There are no words to describe the sorrow and the heartbreak. I’m glad so many people came. It’s vital that we mustn’t forget. This was a terrible tragedy, and Qatar continues to need to make improvements about safety. Right now there’s not a lot of confidence about that.”

During the vigil, which was organized by Doha Mums, a triangle was thrummed 19 times, and the same number of balloons were released into the air. Afterwards, some attendees paused in reflection at a row of 19 candles with each victim’s name on it.

Marilu, an Italian expat who attended the memorial, told Doha News:

“I’m here because it is the only thing I can do; the only way I can express my feelings, my sadness.”

Madiha, an Egyptian expat who knows three-year-old Youssef Chata’s mother, said too many questions remain about what happened.

“As believers, we accept the death of the victims as God’s fate and we know that they are in a better place. But it is still difficult.”

For more on the one-year anniversary, see here. And an in-depth look at the Villaggio tragedy can be found here.

Thoughts?

Credit: Photos by Penny Yi Wang; reporting by Tory Scott and Riham Sheble

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