Disasters & Accidents

Dozens killed in massive fire at Covid-19 hospital in Baghdad

Baghdad, Apr 25 (EFE).- At least 82 people have died in a huge fire at a hospital for Covid-19 patients in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the country’s interior ministry said on Sunday.

The ministry added that 110 others were injured in the blaze that broke out late Saturday at the Ibn al-Khatib hospital in southeastern Baghdad.

The fire is believed to have started after oxygen cylinders exploded, a security official told Efe, on condition of anonymity.

Most of the patients died “due to suffocation” after the explosion sparked a massive blaze at the health center, the official said.

The state-run Iraqi News Agency said preliminary investigations indicate that the fire was caused either by a short circuit or exploding oxygen tanks.

Dozens of firefighters were deployed to put out the flames and evacuated patients at the hospital.

In a statement, Iraqi Civil Defense said that it had rescued about 90 patients, adding that dozens of residents from the surrounding area had come in to help evacuate patients, most of whom are elderly and on respiratory support.

Such incidents are rare in Iraq, even as the war-ravaged country suffers from a poor healthcare infrastructure that has been severely damaged in the decades-old armed conflict.

Iraq’s human rights commission has urged the government to investigate who or what is responsible for the deadly blaze.

The rights body demanded the resignation of the health minister, noting that the healthcare system of the country was ailing with deficiencies.

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