Maradi: At least 26 schoolchildren were killed when their classrooms made out of straw and wood were engulfed in a blaze in southern Niger on Monday, a local governor said.
“Right now, we have 26 dead and 13 injured, four of them seriously,” said Chaibou Aboubacar, mayor of Maradi city, adding that the children were aged between five and six.
Niger, one of the poorest countries in the world, has tried to fix shortages of school buildings by constructing thousands of straw and wood sheds to serve as classrooms, with children sometimes sitting on the ground.
Fires in the highly flammable classrooms are common but rarely result in casualties.
Issoufou Arzika, secretary-general of the Niger Teachers’ Union, said that Monday’s fire had “decimated” the school in Maradi.