Disasters & Accidents

Hospital fire kills dozens in southern Iraq

Baghdad, Jul 13 (EFE).- At least 64 people have died after a fire ripped through a coronavirus isolation ward in a hospital in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar.

State-run news agency INA said Tuesday that another 50 were injured in the Monday night blaze that hit the isolation section at Imam al-Hussein hospital in Nasiriyah city, about 350 kilometers southeast of Baghdad.

Preliminary investigations indicated the fire started after an oxygen cylinder exploded, according to the country’s public broadcaster al-Iraqiya TV.

Iraqi President Barham Saleh wrote on Twitter that the “disaster at al-Hussein hospital in Dhi Qar … is the result of persistent corruption and mismanagement that underestimate the lives of Iraqis and obstruct the performance of institutions.”

Saleh added that investigations are underway to hold accountable those responsible.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an emergency cabinet meeting late Monday to address the incident, according to a statement released by his office.

Shortly after the fire broke out, health director of Dhi Qar, Saddam al-Tawil, resigned, while the authorities declared a three-day mourning period.

In April, a massive fire ripped through a hospital in Baghdad after an oxygen tank exploded and killed 82 people and wounded more than 100 others. It led to the resignation of health minister Hassan al-Tamimi.

Iraq is experiencing a resurgence in Covid-19 cases, with 9,000 new infections officially registered per day. Only 1% of the population is vaccinated.EFE


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