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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Three days after Villaggio fire, anger and criticism grow


Day 1 | Day 2| Day 3

Here’s a condensed version of the Villaggio fire-related news that emerged on Wednesday. See our roundup post for all the details. Click on days above to see all coverage.

Sadness and a sense of community solidarity continued to linger on Wednesday, the third day after a fire at Villagio mall killed 19 people.

But a growing anger and a great deal of finger-pointing also took place.

Exactly who should be held accountable for the fire that led to the deaths of 13 children and six adults is still unclear.

Much blame has been leveled at Iman Al Kuwari, owner of the Gympanzee nursery where the children perished.

Kuwari’s supporters have called the criticism “scapegoating” and supplied Doha News with documents to demonstrate the legitimacy of the business.

She and four Villaggio executives continue to be detained for questioning over the fire.

Residents have also expressed frustration with the traditional media’s handling of the fire, saying newspapers and TV and radio stations were slow to react and shallow in their coverage.

Meanwhile, members of the royal family, including Sheikha Mozah and the Heir Apparent, have extended their condolences to the families of the fire victims, as cables of sympathy for Qatar poured in from around the world.

Gruesome details about what took place on Monday also emerged. Local and international media reported on the final phone calls and text messages placed by teachers trapped inside Gympanzee. Firefighters said they entered the center to find their colleagues lying on the floor with dead children in their arms.

Over the next few days, two more events are being held to honor those who died – our community meetup on Thursday and a free concert on Friday by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra.

And over the next weeks and months, Villaggio shop owners will attempt to calculate the monumental economic cost of the fire, whose flames burned down property and whose smoke tainted clothing and food.

Credit: Photo by Sarah Tavola

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