August 3 2004
SOS Children's Villages in Paraguay also affected by shopping centre fire
03/08/2004 - SOS Children's Villages in Paraguay is mourning a school-girl, a former school-girl and employees' family members, who were killed in the inferno in Asunción's largest shopping centre.
As the village director of SOS Children's Village Asunción announced, a female pupil of the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Paraguay's capital, Assunción and a former pupil both died in the inferno in the popular shopping centre.
Some family members of SOS Children's Village employees also died or suffered serious burns in the blaze.
SOS Children's Village Asunción lies right by the shopping centre in which, according to the latest official figures, 364 people were killed and 300 injured on Sunday. All the SOS mothers and staff would regularly go shopping there, where food and other daily supplies were offered at very low prices.
Village director Mario Melgarejo is also in shock. He had only just left the shopping centre with his wife and four children before the fire broke out.
According to Mr. Melgarejo, the critical phase will be after the catastrophe, when the pain has become part of everyday life and when those affected no longer receive the attention and support that they so desperately need, when hospital bills can no longer be paid and when children have to grow up without their parents. There is also the fear that many further people will die of their injuries as a result of inadequate medical care.
SOS Children's Villages Paraguay has already started implementing the first measures to give psychological help to those affected who need it. Some children, who have lost their parents and cannot be cared for by their extended family, might also be taken into the SOS Children's Village for the long term.