By Jane Nambi
Brazil has declared a three-day of national mourning after the death of 233 people at Kiss nightclub in Santa Maria.
The first funerals are expected to begin today, Monday 28th January. Most of the dead are students who died of smoke inhalation. The national mourning has led to the postponement of the country ceremony which was supposed to celebrate marking 500 days of the 2014 football World Cup. However, in Santa Maria, mourning has been declared for 30 days.
Responding to the deaths, President Dilma Rousseff cut short a visit to Chile said, “It is a tragedy for all of us,” she said.
Authorities have released the names of the victims after revising down the death toll from 245 as more than 100 people are treated in hospital. Officials will now investigate reports that a flare was lit on stage, igniting foam insulation material on the ceiling and releasing toxic smoke. Investigators will also look at claims that some of the dead were unable to escape because there was only one emergency exit was available.
According to a local newspaper, fire broke out as students from the city’s federal university (UFSM) were holding a freshers’ ball.