Over 40 killed, dozens injured in Iraq hospital

The blaze at the Al-Hussein hospital in the southern city of Nasiriya was brought under control late on Monday, the BBC reported. At least 44 people have been killed and around 67 others were injured after a massive fire broke out in a Covid-19 isolation ward at a hospital in Iraq’s southern city of Nassiriya.

The cause of the fire is still unclear, but initial reports suggest it began after an oxygen tank exploded. Reporters described charred bodies being carried out of the building. Rescuers are still searching for survivors. Health official Haydar al-Zamili told a leading media outlet that there are fears people are still trapped inside the ward, which reportedly has space for 60 patients. Protesters demonstrated outside the hospital after the fire, and people posted on social media demanding the resignation of officials. The officials said all those who died suffered severe burns during the blaze at al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in the southern city of Nasiryah. The officials said the fire was caused by an electric short circuit, but did not provide more detail. Another health official in Dhi Qar province, where Nasiriyah is located, said the fire erupted when an oxygen cylinder exploded.

The Health Ministry has not provided an official account of the cause of the fire. The new ward, opened just three months ago, contained 70 beds, said two medical officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.