house resolution no.148

Reps. Aragona, Kuhn, McFall, Shannon, Wozniak, Bezotte, Steele, St. Germaine and Roth offered the following resolution:

A resolution to urge the President of the United States to provide assistance and medical aid to the community of Qaraqosh/Bakhdida, Iraq, following a devastating fire at a local wedding.

Whereas, On September 26, 2023, an unthinkable tragedy struck the city of Qaraqosh/Bakhdida in the Nineveh governorate of northern Iraq. 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 in a blaze. In an instant, what should have been the happiest moment in a young couple’s life became a horrifying nightmare. In the ensuing chaos, attendees struggled to escape the building. It was later discovered that the venue was constructed of highly flammable material, had no emergency exits, and was filled far beyond its capacity – a perfect storm for tragedy. While it is reported that the bride and groom thankfully 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 will necessitate specialized care – care that the local medical community in Qaraqosh/Bakhdida may be unequipped to sufficiently provide; and

Whereas, Medical facilities in Qaraqosh/Bakhdida are insufficiently equipped to provide the necessary medical care for the survivors of this tragic fire. It has been reported that local hospitals in Qaraqosh/Bakhdida – a city home to only 35,000 people – have been overwhelmed with the sudden influx of victims needing comprehensive and intense medical intervention. Unable to cope with the stress, medical professionals in Qaraqosh/Bakhdida have already begun transferring their patients to burn facilities in other countries, desperately attempting to ensure that the victims of this fire receive the best care possible given the dire circumstances; and

Whereas, The United States has a proven track record indicating our commitment to offering humanitarian assistance to those in need across the world. Our status as a world leader places us in the fortunate position to be able to demonstrate that commitment once more by providing aid to the victims of the fire in Qaraqosh/Bakhdida. There are few ways in which the vast resources at the disposal of our federal government can be better spent than by offering support to communities in need. By offering medical assistance and other desperately needed resources to the victims of the Qaraqosh/Bakhdida fire and the medical professionals working tirelessly on their behalf, the 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; and

Whereas, The state of Michigan has particularly strong ties to the Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac people, the primary ethnic demographic of the city of Qaraqosh/Bakhdida. The Assyrian-Chaldean-Syriac diaspora has established deep roots in our state, which hosts the largest population of this people in the nation. The contributions made by this community to our state’s rich culture and robust economy cannot be quantified. Therefore, we recognize that Michigan maintains a vested interest in supporting our friends and neighbors in Qaraqosh/Bakhdida, further strengthening ties long established between our distant communities; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives, That we urge the President of the United States to provide assistance and medical aid to the community of Qaraqosh/Bakhdida, Iraq, following a devastating fire at a local wedding; and be it further

Resolved, That a copy of this resolution be transmitted to the President of the United States.