Deadly fire ravages COVID service in Iraq: health official | Middle East News
Dozens of people died in a fire in the COVID-19 isolation ward of a hospital in the city of Nasiriya, in southern Iraq, a health official said.
At least 36 people have been killed in a fire in a COVID isolation room at an Iraqi hospital, the second deadly hell in a COVID-19 unit in three months, a health official said.
The fire broke out on Monday evening at Al-Hussein hospital in the city of Nasiriya (southern Iraq) and was still continuing, according to an AFP correspondent.
Haydar al-Zamili, spokesperson for local health authorities, told AFP that “the fire (…) devastated the COVID isolation service”, killing 36 people.
Five were injured, “including two in critical condition,” he added.
“The victims have died of burns and the search is continuing,” Zamili said, noting that there were fears the victims were still trapped inside the building. The department itself can accommodate 60 patients.
Sixteen people have been rescued so far, a medical source said Monday evening.
Videos shared online showed thick clouds of smoke billowing from Al-Hussein hospital.
Earlier Monday, a minor fire broke out at the health ministry headquarters in Baghdad, but it was quickly brought under control and no deaths were recorded.
The hospital fire is the second such tragedy this year.
In April, a fire at a COVID-19 hospital in Baghdad left 82 dead and 110 injured, triggered by the explosion of improperly stored oxygen cylinders.
Many of the victims wore ventilators treated for COVID-19 and were burned or suffocated in the resulting inferno that quickly spread to the hospital, where dozens of loved ones were visiting patients on the ward’s unit. intensive care.
The then health minister, Hassan al-Tamimi, resigned after the April fire.
Iraq – where the oil-dependent economy is still recovering from decades of war and rebellion and where many people live in poverty – has recorded more than 1.4 million cases of the coronavirus and more than 17,000 deaths.