By Sunday afternoon, emergency services said they managed to put out the blaze and the prime minister and other senior government officials arrived to inspect the site. Premier Mustafa Madbouly said surviving victims and families of the dead would receive payments as compensation and that the government would rebuild the church.
By late afternoon, caskets carrying the dead were transferred in ambulances for pre-burial prayers at two churches in the nearby Waraq neighborhood, as weeping women lined their path. Hundreds of mourners gathered at the churches for the funerals, before taking the bodies for burial in nearby cemeteries.
Egypt’s Christians account for some 10% of the nation’s more than 103 million people and have long complained of discrimination by the nation’s Muslim majority.
Sunday’s blaze was one of the worst fire tragedies in recent years in Egypt, where safety standards and fire regulations are poorly enforced. In March last year, a fire at a garment factory near Cairo killed at least 20 people and injured 24.
This article originally appeared on APNews.com.