Another fire drama on a corona station in Iraq.
At least 41 people died in a fire in a hospital in the south of the country. Southern Dhi Qar Province Health Authority spokesman Ammar Bashar confirmed the figure. Eyewitnesses even speak of 48 fatalities!
The hospital is located in the city of Nasiriyah in the province of Dhi Qar, around 370 kilometers south of the capital Baghdad. According to Bashar, there were 63 Covid patients in the hospital’s isolation department.
When black smoke rose over the building, dozens of people ran in to help the people in the hospital. The bodies of the victims were recovered after the fire was extinguished. The search for possible further victims continues.
Witnesses reported to the German Press Agency that the fire broke out due to the explosion of an oxygen cylinder, but there was initially no official confirmation. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kasimi held an emergency meeting with several ministers and security officials to investigate the causes of the fire, the cabinet said.
Civil protection teams from the surrounding provinces were called to help in the city of Nasiriya and managed to put out the fire, said the head of the civil protection department, Kadhem Bohan, in a statement.
The people died of severe burns. 16 patients could have been saved from the burning ward, it is said.
It was only in April that there was a devastating fire in a corona clinic in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in which 82 people died and 110 others were injured. The then Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi resigned in response to the fire disaster, the cause of which was stated to be incorrectly stored oxygen bottles.
So far, around 1.4 million infections with the coronavirus have been reported in Iraq. The vaccinations are making slow progress there. According to the statistics website Our World in Data, less than two percent of the population received at least one dose of vaccine.