Police suspect arson in deadly New Zealand hostel fire

Police suspect arson in deadly New Zealand hostel fire

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Thursday 18/05/2023
[Photo source: BBC News]

New Zealand police have launched a homicide inquiry into a fire at an emergency housing hostel in Wellington, where at least six people were killed.

Officials said up to 20 people were still missing and they were treating the blaze as an act of arson.

Due to the damage, police have not yet been able to confirm the death toll.

More than 90 people had been accounted for but authorities have not yet disclosed the identities of the dead or those missing - some of whom might be unaccounted for due to other reasons.

The incident on the outskirts of Wellington's city centre has shocked New Zealand and New Zealand Prime Minister Chris Hipkins have called it "an absolute tragedy" and said it raised a wider discussion about the nation's housing crisis.

The 92-room hostel was known to house residents from vulnerable and marginalised communities including those on welfare and disability pensions- as well as workers from the city's main hospital.

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