82 killed in Iraq as fire erupts at COVID-19 hospital


At least 82 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire that broke out in the coronavirus intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital, sparking anger and prompting the suspension of top officials in a country with a long-dilapidated health infrastructure.
The blaze on Saturday night at the Ibn al-Khatib Hospital in the Iraqi capital was sparked by an accident that caused an oxygen tank to explode, according to medical sources.
The health ministry announced on Sunday that 82 people were killed and 110 were injured in the blaze, while the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said 28 of the victims were patients who had to be taken off ventilators to escape the flames.
The flames spread quickly, according to civil defence officials, as “the hospital had no fire protection system and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products”.
In response to the fire, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi suspended Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi amid angry calls on social media for him to be sacked, as part of a probe that would also include the governor of Baghdad.
Al Jazeera’s Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad.

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