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Pictures | Fri Mar 10, 2017 | 8:15pm GMT

Mourning girls burned to death in Guatemala shelter

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones after a fire broke at the Virgen de Asuncion home in San Jose Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Guatemala. The blaze that has killed at least 37 and maimed others at an overcrowded Guatemalan shelter for abused teens broke out in a tiny room they were locked in to control them after a riot at the center, authorities and witnesses said.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones after a fire broke at the Virgen de Asuncion home in San Jose Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Guatemala. The blaze that has killed at least 37 and maimed others at an...more

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones after a fire broke at the Virgen de Asuncion home in San Jose Pinula, on the outskirts of Guatemala City, Guatemala. The blaze that has killed at least 37 and maimed others at an overcrowded Guatemalan shelter for abused teens broke out in a tiny room they were locked in to control them after a riot at the center, authorities and witnesses said. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Family and friends prepare to take to the cemetery the coffin with the body of Rosa Julia Tobar, a victim of the fire, at her grandmothers home in Guatemala City. The inferno in the 16 square metre classroom packed with 52 teenagers left survivors of the blaze with such severe injuries that burn specialists were flown in from the United States and medics said they needed hundreds of blood donors.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Family and friends prepare to take to the cemetery the coffin with the body of Rosa Julia Tobar, a victim of the fire, at her grandmothers home in Guatemala City. The inferno in the 16 square metre classroom packed with 52 teenagers left survivors of...more

Family and friends prepare to take to the cemetery the coffin with the body of Rosa Julia Tobar, a victim of the fire, at her grandmothers home in Guatemala City. The inferno in the 16 square metre classroom packed with 52 teenagers left survivors of the blaze with such severe injuries that burn specialists were flown in from the United States and medics said they needed hundreds of blood donors. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Daniel, 16, survivor of the fire, exits the Virgen de Asuncion home. The government has sacked the director of the Virgen de la Asuncion home, temporarily closed the center, declared three days of mourning and vowed to reform a childcare system that experts say is critically underfunded.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Daniel, 16, survivor of the fire, exits the Virgen de Asuncion home. The government has sacked the director of the Virgen de la Asuncion home, temporarily closed the center, declared three days of mourning and vowed to reform a childcare system that...more

Daniel, 16, survivor of the fire, exits the Virgen de Asuncion home. The government has sacked the director of the Virgen de la Asuncion home, temporarily closed the center, declared three days of mourning and vowed to reform a childcare system that experts say is critically underfunded. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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A bus with survivors of the fire exits the Virgen de Asuncion home. "The staff left the girls in an extremely reduced space, a four-meter by four-meter room, for 52 teenage girls," said Claudia Lopez, Guatemala's deputy ombudsman for human rights. "It was a terribly thought out decision."

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

A bus with survivors of the fire exits the Virgen de Asuncion home. "The staff left the girls in an extremely reduced space, a four-meter by four-meter room, for 52 teenage girls," said Claudia Lopez, Guatemala's deputy ombudsman for human rights....more

A bus with survivors of the fire exits the Virgen de Asuncion home. "The staff left the girls in an extremely reduced space, a four-meter by four-meter room, for 52 teenage girls," said Claudia Lopez, Guatemala's deputy ombudsman for human rights. "It was a terribly thought out decision." REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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A mother hugs the coffin of her daughter Rosa Julia Tobar at her wake in Guatemala City. Police and witnesses say the fire appeared to have been started by one of the girls, who set light to a mattress in the room, possibly as a protest after hours inside. "If it really was the girls who started the fire - why did they have matches in their hand, why were they not searched if they were going to be locked into this tiny space?," said Claudia Lopez, Guatemala's deputy ombudsman for human rights.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

A mother hugs the coffin of her daughter Rosa Julia Tobar at her wake in Guatemala City. Police and witnesses say the fire appeared to have been started by one of the girls, who set light to a mattress in the room, possibly as a protest after hours...more

A mother hugs the coffin of her daughter Rosa Julia Tobar at her wake in Guatemala City. Police and witnesses say the fire appeared to have been started by one of the girls, who set light to a mattress in the room, possibly as a protest after hours inside. "If it really was the girls who started the fire - why did they have matches in their hand, why were they not searched if they were going to be locked into this tiny space?," said Claudia Lopez, Guatemala's deputy ombudsman for human rights. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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The coffin of Madelin Patricia Hernandez is seen during her wake in Guatemala City. The Virgen de la Asuncion home houses youths up to 18 years old on the pine-wooded outskirts of the municipality of San Jose Pinula, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of the capital Guatemala City. Its residents are an unusual mix of victims of violence and young offenders, with children with disabilities in another wing.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

The coffin of Madelin Patricia Hernandez is seen during her wake in Guatemala City. The Virgen de la Asuncion home houses youths up to 18 years old on the pine-wooded outskirts of the municipality of San Jose Pinula, some 25 kilometers (15 miles)...more

The coffin of Madelin Patricia Hernandez is seen during her wake in Guatemala City. The Virgen de la Asuncion home houses youths up to 18 years old on the pine-wooded outskirts of the municipality of San Jose Pinula, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) southwest of the capital Guatemala City. Its residents are an unusual mix of victims of violence and young offenders, with children with disabilities in another wing. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Family and friends cry at the funeral of Rosa Julia Tobar in Guatemala City.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Family and friends cry at the funeral of Rosa Julia Tobar in Guatemala City. REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Family and friends cry at the funeral of Rosa Julia Tobar in Guatemala City. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Maria del Carmen Urias Ruiz cries outside the morgue where the body of her dead daughter Myra is located. REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Maria del Carmen Urias Ruiz cries outside the morgue where the body of her dead daughter Myra is located. REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Maria del Carmen Urias Ruiz cries outside the morgue where the body of her dead daughter Myra is located. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Local authorities gain control of the Virgen de Asuncion home. Years of problems at the home boiled over at lunchtime the day before the fire, when a group of teenagers complaining about the conditions inside feigned a fight in the lunch hall as a distraction, before attacking staff and trying to escape, one eyewitness said.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Local authorities gain control of the Virgen de Asuncion home. Years of problems at the home boiled over at lunchtime the day before the fire, when a group of teenagers complaining about the conditions inside feigned a fight in the lunch hall as a...more

Local authorities gain control of the Virgen de Asuncion home. Years of problems at the home boiled over at lunchtime the day before the fire, when a group of teenagers complaining about the conditions inside feigned a fight in the lunch hall as a distraction, before attacking staff and trying to escape, one eyewitness said. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones at the Virgen de Asuncion home. After hours of rioting, police captured most of those who had fled and they were separated from the hundreds of other residents in the complex, according to an account written by the government's human rights department and seen by Reuters.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones at the Virgen de Asuncion home. After hours of rioting, police captured most of those who had fled and they were separated from the hundreds of other residents in the complex, according...more

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones at the Virgen de Asuncion home. After hours of rioting, police captured most of those who had fled and they were separated from the hundreds of other residents in the complex, according to an account written by the government's human rights department and seen by Reuters. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Riot police stand guard after a fire broke at the Virgen de Asuncion home. During five hours of negotiations that evening, the leaders of the rebellion alleged abuse by the staff including rotten food and the use of bleach on their skin and pepper spray as punishment for bad behavior, according to the document.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Riot police stand guard after a fire broke at the Virgen de Asuncion home. During five hours of negotiations that evening, the leaders of the rebellion alleged abuse by the staff including rotten food and the use of bleach on their skin and pepper...more

Riot police stand guard after a fire broke at the Virgen de Asuncion home. During five hours of negotiations that evening, the leaders of the rebellion alleged abuse by the staff including rotten food and the use of bleach on their skin and pepper spray as punishment for bad behavior, according to the document. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones at the Virgen de Asuncion home. At around 1 a.m., the 52 girls were locked into a classroom and given thin mattresses to sleep on, local police chief Wilson Maldonado told a congressional commission. Boys involved in the trouble were kept in a separate area, an employee at the home said.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones at the Virgen de Asuncion home. At around 1 a.m., the 52 girls were locked into a classroom and given thin mattresses to sleep on, local police chief Wilson Maldonado told a congressional...more

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones at the Virgen de Asuncion home. At around 1 a.m., the 52 girls were locked into a classroom and given thin mattresses to sleep on, local police chief Wilson Maldonado told a congressional commission. Boys involved in the trouble were kept in a separate area, an employee at the home said. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Riot police stand guard at the Virgen de Asuncion home. At about 9 am, police stationed outside the room noticed smoke seeping out, Maldonado said. However, one witness said the fire started 30 minutes earlier and police initially ignored the cries for help, thinking the girls were protesting.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Riot police stand guard at the Virgen de Asuncion home. At about 9 am, police stationed outside the room noticed smoke seeping out, Maldonado said. However, one witness said the fire started 30 minutes earlier and police initially ignored the cries...more

Riot police stand guard at the Virgen de Asuncion home. At about 9 am, police stationed outside the room noticed smoke seeping out, Maldonado said. However, one witness said the fire started 30 minutes earlier and police initially ignored the cries for help, thinking the girls were protesting. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones. "I heard shouting and loud noises all night," said a teenage girl who witnessed the fighting in the lunch hall and said she spent much of the Tuesday cowering under a bed in her dorm after some of her peers tried to make her join the riot. "The fire was at about 8.30 am, the boys came running down to say that a girl had died," she said. "The police grabbed the boys and a carer began hitting them and telling them off for having left the room they were left in."

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones. "I heard shouting and loud noises all night," said a teenage girl who witnessed the fighting in the lunch hall and said she spent much of the Tuesday cowering under a bed in her dorm...more

Family members react as they wait for news of their loved ones. "I heard shouting and loud noises all night," said a teenage girl who witnessed the fighting in the lunch hall and said she spent much of the Tuesday cowering under a bed in her dorm after some of her peers tried to make her join the riot. "The fire was at about 8.30 am, the boys came running down to say that a girl had died," she said. "The police grabbed the boys and a carer began hitting them and telling them off for having left the room they were left in." REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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A family member places a candle outside the morgue where the bodies of victims are located. The Virgen de la Asuncion center has a history of abuse accusations documented by Guatemalan media. Over the last three years more than 250 of its residents have fled, newspaper reports said.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

A family member places a candle outside the morgue where the bodies of victims are located. The Virgen de la Asuncion center has a history of abuse accusations documented by Guatemalan media. Over the last three years more than 250 of its residents...more

A family member places a candle outside the morgue where the bodies of victims are located. The Virgen de la Asuncion center has a history of abuse accusations documented by Guatemalan media. Over the last three years more than 250 of its residents have fled, newspaper reports said. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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A family member is seen outside the morgue where the body of her dead relative is located. Human rights reports and interviews with people inside the center paint a complex picture. Some residents felt the center provided them shelter and education their families couldn't, and blamed a few "rebels" for the tensions.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

A family member is seen outside the morgue where the body of her dead relative is located. Human rights reports and interviews with people inside the center paint a complex picture. Some residents felt the center provided them shelter and education...more

A family member is seen outside the morgue where the body of her dead relative is located. Human rights reports and interviews with people inside the center paint a complex picture. Some residents felt the center provided them shelter and education their families couldn't, and blamed a few "rebels" for the tensions. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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People scream "We Want Justice" during a vigil for victims outside the National Palace in Guatemala City. Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, an employee who has worked there for six years attributed many of the problems to low funding, poor staffing levels and judges who sent a steady flow of youth offenders to the home, rather than to detention centres. "We had 15-19 new arrivals a day, every carer had 34 children to look after, and we were on one day on, one day off shifts of 24 hours because there were not enough staff, "the employee said, adding she faced death threats and verbal abuse from her wards.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

People scream "We Want Justice" during a vigil for victims outside the National Palace in Guatemala City. Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, an employee who has worked there for six years attributed many of the problems to low funding,...more

People scream "We Want Justice" during a vigil for victims outside the National Palace in Guatemala City. Speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity, an employee who has worked there for six years attributed many of the problems to low funding, poor staffing levels and judges who sent a steady flow of youth offenders to the home, rather than to detention centres. "We had 15-19 new arrivals a day, every carer had 34 children to look after, and we were on one day on, one day off shifts of 24 hours because there were not enough staff, "the employee said, adding she faced death threats and verbal abuse from her wards. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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A vigil for victims is held on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Guatemala has Latin America's worst rates of child malnutrition. Street gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha prey on minors. And, the Central American nation's public institutions are underfunded, racked by corruption and widespread overcrowding. The situation has contributed to the exodus of at least 67,000 Guatemalan children to the United States since 2013.

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

A vigil for victims is held on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Guatemala has Latin America's worst rates of child malnutrition. Street gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha prey on minors. And, the Central American nation's public institutions are...more

A vigil for victims is held on the outskirts of Guatemala City. Guatemala has Latin America's worst rates of child malnutrition. Street gangs like the Mara Salvatrucha prey on minors. And, the Central American nation's public institutions are underfunded, racked by corruption and widespread overcrowding. The situation has contributed to the exodus of at least 67,000 Guatemalan children to the United States since 2013. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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A vigil for the victims is held on the outskirts of Guatemala City. "What happened in the secure home yesterday is just the tip of the iceberg of an entire system of not protecting children and teens in Guatemala," said Enrique Maldonaldo, a specialist in child studies at the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales. "Guatemala has not been capable of guaranteeing a minimum level of social protection," he said. 

REUTERS/Saul Martinez

A vigil for the victims is held on the outskirts of Guatemala City. "What happened in the secure home yesterday is just the tip of the iceberg of an entire system of not protecting children and teens in Guatemala," said Enrique Maldonaldo, a...more

A vigil for the victims is held on the outskirts of Guatemala City. "What happened in the secure home yesterday is just the tip of the iceberg of an entire system of not protecting children and teens in Guatemala," said Enrique Maldonaldo, a specialist in child studies at the Instituto Centroamericano de Estudios Fiscales. "Guatemala has not been capable of guaranteeing a minimum level of social protection," he said. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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People light candles during a vigil outside the National Palace in Guatemala City. REUTERS/Saul Martinez

People light candles during a vigil outside the National Palace in Guatemala City. REUTERS/Saul Martinez

People light candles during a vigil outside the National Palace in Guatemala City. REUTERS/Saul Martinez
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