A minimum of 52 individuals died and 22 had been wounded when a large hearth engulfed the coronavirus isolation ward of an Iraqi hospital Monday, a well being official mentioned.
The hearth broke out on the Al-Hussein hospital within the southern Iraqi metropolis of Nasiriyah late Monday and was introduced below management by native civil defence forces.
A medical supply with the well being directorate advised AFP the “important purpose behind the fireplace… was the explosion of oxygen tanks”.
Haydar al-Zamili, the local health authority’s spokesperson, said early Tuesday 52 bodies were retrieved and another 22 people were wounded in the latest toll, after the fire had “ripped through the Covid isolation ward”.
“The victims died of burns and the search is constant,” he added, noting that there were fears people could still be trapped inside the building. The ward had space for 70 beds.
The deadly hospital blaze is the second such fire in Iraq in three months.
Outside the hospital, dozens of young demonstrators protested. “The (political) parties have burned us,” they shouted in unison.
The hearth additionally prompted livid calls on social media for the resignation of prime officers.
Native authorities imposed a state of emergency in Dhi Qar governorate, of which Nasiriyah is the capital, and ordered medical doctors on go away to assist deal with the injured.
‘Failure to protect lives’
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi held an emergency assembly with ministers and safety heads to “discover out the causes” of the fire, his office tweeted Tuesday.
Dhi Qar’s health chief and the hospital’s head were detained and questioned by police, his office said. Kadhemi also dispatched emergency medical aid to the southern governorate.
“The catastrophe of Al-Hussein Hospital is clear proof of the failure to protect the lives of Iraqis, and it is time to put an end to this,” Mohamed al-Halbousi, Iraq’s Parliament Speaker, wrote on Twitter.
Iraq’s inside ministry mentioned on Fb that the fireplace tore by means of short-term constructions erected subsequent to the principle constructing, however didn’t specify the trigger.
Movies shared on-line confirmed thick clouds of smoke billowing from the Al Hussein hospital.
In April, a fireplace at a Baghdad Covid-19 hospital killed 82 and injured 110, sparked by the explosion of badly saved oxygen cylinders.
Lots of the victims within the April hearth had been on respirators and had been burned or suffocated within the ensuing inferno that unfold quickly by means of the hospital, the place dozens of family members had been visiting sufferers within the intensive care unit.
The April hearth led to widespread anger, ensuing within the suspension and subsequent resignation of then well being minister Hassan al-Tamimi.
Iraq — the place the oil-reliant economic system remains to be recovering from many years of conflict and insurgency, and the place many individuals dwell in poverty — has recorded over 1.4 million coronavirus circumstances and greater than 17,000 deaths.
A lot of the nation’s well being infrastructure is dilapidated and funding in public providers is restricted by endemic corruption.
For the reason that coronavirus vaccine rollout started in March, Iraqi well being authorities have totally inoculated solely round one % of the nation’s roughly 40 million individuals.
Earlier on Monday, a minor hearth broke out on the well being ministry’s headquarters in Baghdad, but it surely was rapidly contained with no fatalities recorded.
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