Numerous Died In COVID-19 Ward Fire At Iraq Hospital
At least 36 people lost their lives in a fire occurrence in the coronavirus isolation unit at an Iraqi hospital, the second deadly blaze incident in a Covid-19 ward in three months, according to a health official.
The fire erupted at the Al-Hussein hospital in the southern city ‘Nasiriyah’ late Monday and was still ongoing, as per an AFP correspondent.
Haydar al-Zamili, a local health authorities’ spokesman, stated that the "fire gripped the Covid isolation ward," and the death toll reached 36.
“Five injured, with two in critical condition," he elaborated.
"The fatalities died of burns and the search is still going on," stated Zamili, noticing that there were chances that victims could still be stuck inside the building. The ward has a capacity of 60 patients.
According to Iraq´s interior ministry, as stated on Facebook late Monday, the fire ripped through temporary structures created next to the main building, however, the cause wasn’t mentioned.
The deadly fire made angry calls on social media demanding immediate action and the resignation of top officials.
Till now, sixteen people have been rescued, as stated by a medical source late Monday.
In April, another fire incident at a Baghdad Covid-19 hospital killed 82 and wounded 110, which took place by the explosion of badly stored oxygen cylinders.
Many victims in the April incident were on ventilators being treated for Covid-19 and were either suffocated or burned in the resulting blaze. The fire rapidly ripped through the hospital, where many relatives were visiting patients in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The April fire resulted in widespread anger, causing the suspension, and resignation of health minister ‘Hassan al-Tamimi’.
The country in which the oil-reliant economy is still recovering from decades of war and insurgency with several people living in poverty has reported more than 1.4 million Covid cases and over 17,000 deaths.
Most of the country´s health infrastructure is damaged with limited investment in public services due to endemic corruption.
As the vaccine rollout started in March, Iraqi health authorities have fully vaccinated only about one percent of the country´s roughly population of 40 million people.
Iraq, where 60 per cent of the population is aged under 25, vaccine apathy and scepticism are especially common among youngsters.
Earlier on Monday, a minor fire erupted at the health ministry´s headquarters in Baghdad, but it was quickly controlled, and no fatalities were reported.