Disasters & Accidents

Over 90 killed in fire at Iraq coronavirus hospital

Baghdad, Jul 13 (EFE).- At least 92 people were killed in a blaze that tore through a Covid-19 isolation ward at a southern Iraqi hospital, medical sources said Tuesday.

The health department of the affected Dhi Qar province confirmed the rise in the death toll from the Monday night blaze at the Imam al-Hussein hospital in Nasiriyah city, about 350 kilometers southeast of Baghdad, according to state-run news agency INA.

Preliminary investigations indicate 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 launched an investigation and issued arrest warrants for 13 employees at the Dhi Qar’s health department.

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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