Shocked New Zealand and Australian expat parents in Doha have taken to social media to express their grief over the loss of 13 children in the shopping mall fire.
New Zealand toddler triplets Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes perished at the Gympanzee childcare centre on the first floor of the Villaggio mall when the fire broke out late Monday morning.
The other children who died were also expatriate, with three from Spain.
The overall death toll is 19, with at least 12 people still in hospital.
Kiwi mother Paula Elliott Crook, who has lived in Doha since 2006, says the Villaggio mall is where her family shops.
"It's our local mall. We know the place very well," she tweeted.
"It's a national tragedy."
Australian blogger and mother-of-four Kirsty Rice, who also lives in Doha, writes the expat community is grief stricken.
"A New Zealand family living their worst nightmare today," she tweeted.
On her blog she writes: "Today I watched what can only be described as an explosion of grief.
"We hugged in the school yard, we cried in car parks, we made calls from the office with our heads in our hands. We put ourselves in the shoes of those that will never be the same again.
"For those who have announced to friends and family that Doha is a wonderfully safe place to raise our children, today will perhaps be remembered as the day that innocence was lost."
The Gulf state of Qatar has a high number of expat residents.
With a population of just under two million, Qatar was a former British protectorate and gained independence in 1971.
Another expat parent, Paula Rodrigues Duarte, posted a comment on the Doha News Facebook page saying she was in the mall at the time of the fire and saw "no alarms, no sprinklers, nothing".
Newspapers in the Gulf state on Tuesday raised questions over the licensing of a nursery in the middle of a huge mall.
The father of the New Zealand triplets, Martin Weekes, was chief executive of Eden Park from 1996-2000 and moved to Qatar with his family in 2007.He is a senior adviser at Qatar government agency q.media.
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