Dozens of people are dead after a fire ripped through a Covid isolation ward at an Iraqi hospital.
At least 44 people were killed and 67 injured in the fire which was likely caused by an oxygen tank explosion.
The tragedy happened at a coronavirus hospital in Iraq’s southern city of Nasiriya, health officials and police said on Monday.
“Health crews carried charred bodies out of the burning hospital while many patients were coughing from the rising smoke,” a Reuters reporter at the site of the fire said.
Health officials at Nasiriya said search operations at the al-Hussain coronavirus hospital were continuing after the fire was brought under control, but thick smoke was making it difficult to enter some of the burnt wards.
The death toll could rise (Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
“Raging fires have trapped many patients inside the coronavirus ward and rescue teams are struggling to reach them,” a health worker said before entering the burning building.
Initial police reports suggested that an oxygen tank explosion inside the hospital’s Covid wards was the likely cause of the fire, a policeman at the scene of the fire said.
“I heard a big explosion inside the coronavirus wards and then fire had erupted very quickly,” said Ali Muhsin, a hospital guard who was helping carrying wounded patients away from fires.
In April, a fire caused by an oxygen tank explosion at a Covid hospital in Baghdad killed at least 82 people and injured 110 others.
Health sources said earlier the death toll from Monday’s fire could rise as many patients were still missing.
Hospitals have struggled with a patient influx (Image: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Two health workers were among the dead, they said.
Angry relatives gathered in front of the hospital and clashed with police, setting fire to two police vehicles, a witness said.
As rescuers scoured the smoke-charred building, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held urgent meetings with senior ministers and ordered the suspension and arrest of health and civil defence managers in Nasiriya, his office said in a statement.
The manager of the hospital was also suspended and ordered to be arrested, the statement added.
Already decimated by war and sanctions, Iraq’s healthcare system has struggled to cope with the coronavirus crisis, which has killed 17,592 people and infected more than 1.4 million.
During the coronavirus crisis, hospitals have struggled with an influx of patients and short supplies.
Read More
Related Articles
Read More
Related Articles