The Prime Minister of New Zealand has sent his condolences to the family of two-year old triplets who died in a horrific fire at a nursery in Qatar.

You can get a sense of the size of the blaze and the ferocity of it from the clouds of black smoke billowing from the mall here as ambulances, fire crews and police offices surround the scene. It's here that some 19 people – 13 of whom are the children of expats – perished in the blaze which ripped through the Gympanzee childcare centre and the Villagio shopping mall where it was based.

Local news reports from New Zealand name the dead triplets as Lillie, Jackson and Willsher Weekes. The Prime Minister gave this statement: "The family obviously are dealing with, you know terrible grief that they have at this time. The consulate is coming over from Saudi Arabia in Riyadh to support the family. The grandparents who are here in New Zealand are going to Qatar this evening."

Apparently 4 of the dead children were Spanish, one was a 3-year old from France, youngsters said to be from the Philippines, Benin, France and Japan, among other countries also died, as well as 4 teachers and 2 civil defence staff.

The Villaggio mall is an extremely popular shopping and amusement spot in the gas and oil-rich Gulf Arab state of Qatar. As a result it attracts thousands of expats through work and its exceptionally high living standards. The state's Interior Ministry confirmed that there was some sort of malfunction with both the smoke alarm and the sprinkler systems within the shopping centre. Authorities investigating the incident say they still don't know the cause of the fire.

Written & Presented by Marverine Cole