According to official information, the death toll after the fire in the corona ward of a hospital in Baghdad is even higher than previously thought. 82 people were killed in the incident in the Iraqi capital and 110 others were injured, the Interior Ministry said, according to the state agency INA. According to the civil protection authorities, 90 patients were saved.
The fire in the hospital was apparently caused by the explosion of improperly stored oxygen bottles. In addition, security forces found a lack of fire protection.
Videos in online networks show how the fire brigade tried to put out the flames in Ibn al-Khatib hospital on the southern edge of the Iraqi capital. Smoke rose from several windows. Patients and relatives tried to get out of the building to safety.
Three days of national mourning
Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kasimi ordered a speedy investigation and arrested the director of the hospital and officials responsible for its security and maintenance. The victims are to be regarded as “martyrs”. With this rating, relatives can receive government financial assistance. In addition, the government declared a three-day state mourning.
On Wednesday, the number of proven corona infections in Iraq jumped the one million mark. So far, a good 15,000 corona deaths have been registered in the country with around 40 million inhabitants. After decades of conflict, Iraq’s hospitals are still poorly equipped.
fab / kle / ml (afp, dpa, rtre, ape)