At least 50 people have died in an Iraqi hospital fire that has engulfed the Covid ward.
A catastrophic fire ignited a coronavirus isolation section at a hospital in Iraq’s southern city of Nassiriya, killing at least 50 people and injuring over 67 others.
The fire is currently under control, but search and rescue activities are still ongoing. As the hunt continues, the dead toll is sure to rise.
The hospital was rescued by sixteen individuals.
The “fire… blasted through the Covid isolation ward,” according to Haydar al-Zamili, a spokesman for the local health authorities.
“The victims perished of burns, and the hunt continues,” he continued.
Many individuals could still be inside the structure, according to Mr al-Zamili.
The cause of the fire has been said to be a mystery.
An oxygen tank explosion, according to a health official from Dhi Qar province, triggered the fire.
Officials later suggested that the fire may have begun as a result of an electric short circuit.
The difficulties of the rescue efforts was recounted by a health professional.
“Raging fires have trapped numerous patients inside the coronavirus ward, and rescue crews are battling to approach them,” they said to Reuters.
a few seconds ago in #Nasiriyah: pic.twitter.com/SCusoo1jZu
Footage shared on social media showed a massive fire with heavy columns of smoke billowing from it.
Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s prime minister, called an emergency meeting with ministers and top security commanders, according to his office.
“Health staff hauled burned bodies out of the blazing hospital while numerous people coughed from the rising smoke,” a Reuters reporter on the scene reported.
Iraq’s Parliament Speaker, Mohamed Al-Halbousi, turned to Twitter to protest the “failure” to defend Iraqis.
“The disaster at Al-Hussein Hospital is obvious proof of the inability to protect Iraqi lives, and it is time to put an end to this,” he wrote.