State Rep. Joseph Aragona this week called upon the President of the United States and Congress to provide assistance and medical aid to a community in northern Iraq following a devastating fire that left 132 dead and at least 82 injured, many of whom have severe burns.
Aragona, R-Clinton Township, introduced House Resolution 148 to call attention to the unthinkable tragedy that struck the city of Qaraqosh/Bakhdida on Sept. 26, 2023. As a newlywed couple celebrated their union surrounded by friends and family, fireworks erupted on the dance floor and ignited the banquet hall, engulfing the venue. While it is reported that the bride and groom survived, Iraqi officials have indicated that at least 107 attendees lost their lives while an additional 82 were injured.
“Surviving victims suffered extreme burns and other physical and psychological injuries that require specialized care – care that the local medical community is not equipped to provide,” Aragona said. “Hospitals in the area have been overwhelmed with the influx of victims needing comprehensive and intense medical intervention.”
Aragona noted that Michigan has strong ties to the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac people, the ethnic demographic of the city where the fire occurred.
“Many people here have family members and friends who were affected, who were burned or who passed away,” Aragona said. “This is a horrific situation that has deeply affected families in Iraq and here at home.”
He also said the United States has a proven track record of offering humanitarian assistance to those in need across the world and providing aid to the victims of this fire would once again demonstrate that commitment.
“By offering medical assistance and other desperately needed resources to the victims of this fire and the medical professionals working tirelessly on their behalf, our federal government would demonstrate the compassion of the American people and our commitment to promoting peace, stability, and well-being in Iraq and the world beyond,” Aragona said.
Wednesday, House Resolution 148 was approved by the House Government Operations Committee.
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