New deadly fire in a Covid structure in Iraq, at least 52 dead
Sylvie Claire / July 13, 2021
At least sixty people died in the terrible fire that ravaged the Covid unit of Nassiriya hospital on Monday night, an official at the city's central morgue told AFP on Tuesday, and the death toll could still rise.
Of the sixty charred bodies received at the morgue, 39 were identified and handed over to the families, the source said, indicating that the others were difficult to identify.
The death toll could still rise, a medical source said, as some patients have not yet been found.
The fire, caused by exploding oxygen cylinders according to a health source in Dhi Qar province, engulfed the 70-bed Covid unit of the hospital for several hours and led to scenes of chaos as firefighters, rescuers and residents struggled to remove patients from the building.
The director of the hospital and the provincial health officer were interviewed by the police and suspended by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazimi, who also declared a three-day national mourning for the martyrs of Nassiriya.
But many angry reactions erupted after the tragedy to denounce the mismanagement and inefficiency of public authorities. Hundreds of people demonstrated in the night in front of the hospital in Nassiriya, shouting: the politicians are burning us!