Dozens killed as fire ravages coronavirus hospital in southern Iraq 💥😭😭💥

At least 42 people have been killed and more than 60 injured in a fire at a coronavirus hospital in Iraq’s southern city of Nassiriya.

As rescuers combed the smoke-charred building on Monday in search of more bodies, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an urgent meeting with ministers and top security commanders to discuss the incident.

Already decimated by war and sanctions, Iraq’s healthcare system has struggled to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed 17,592 people and infected more than 1.4 million.

“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 Nassiriya 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.

“Raging fires have trapped many patients inside the coronavirus ward and rescue teams are struggling to reach them,” a health worker told Reuters before entering the burning building.

Initial police reports suggested that an oxygen tank explosion inside the hospital’s COVID-19 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.

Smoke rises after fire broke out in a COVID-19 isolation ward of Al-Hussein Hospital in Nasiriya city in Dhi Qar governorate, Iraq on July 13, 2021.

Anadolu

In April, a fire caused by an oxygen tank explosion at a COVID-19 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. 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 Reuters witness said.

“Corrupt officials must be held accountable for the fire and killing innocent patients. Where is my father’s body,” said one young man as he searched among charred bodies wrapped in blankets in the hospital’s yard.

Dozens killed as fire ravages coronavirus hospital in southern Iraq

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