Disasters & Accidents

Iraqi health minister resigns over deadly hospital fire

Baghdad, May 4 (EFE).- Iraq’s health minister resigned on Tuesday, 10 days after a fire in a Baghdad hospital for Covid-19 patients that left 82 people dead and 110 others injured.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi accepted the “resignation presented by the Minister of Health and Environment of Iraq, Hassan al-Tamimi, after the issuance of the report of the investigation committee formed after the Ibn al-Khatib hospital blaze,” the premier’s office said in a statement.

Al-Tamimi was suspended within hours of the fire, which broke out on the night of April 24 after several oxygen tanks exploded.

Though the government has not released the full text of the investigation report, officials shared the recommendations from the committee, including requiring the health ministry to impose disciplinary sanctions on the hospital director and others in positions of authority.

The committee also urged the government to dismiss the Baghdad health director and “to apply the instructions that guarantee the safety of patients, companions, supervisors and medical personnel and to deal firmly with offenders and negligent people,” according to the statement from Al-Kadhimi’s office.

The probe was carried out by a committee comprising two Cabinet ministers, a representative of Parliament and heads of several government oversight bodies.

Pending the release of a separate, technical investigation into the circumstances of the tragedy, lawmakers and members of Iraq’s Human Rights Commission have pointed to a failure to limit the number of visitors to the hospital and to the use of space heaters in proximity to the oxygen tanks. EFE ah-nr-se-ppa/ta/dr

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