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Death toll from fire in COVID ward of Iraqi hospital rises to 92

High-level committee to investigate exact cause of fire, present final report to public within 48 hours

Haydar Karaalp, Mehmet Nuri Ucar and Ibrahim Salih   | 13.07.2021
 Death toll from fire in COVID ward of Iraqi hospital rises to 92

BAGHDAD

With 28 more fatalities recorded on Tuesday, the death toll from a fire that engulfed Monday evening the COVID-19 isolation ward of a hospital in southern Iraq reached 92, a government health official said.

This is the second incident of its kind in less than three months as a similar fire broke out at Ibn Al-Khatib Hospital in the capital Baghdad on April 24 as a result of oxygen cylinder explosion, killing 82 people and injuring 110 others.

The source, who preferred anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media, said the deaths from the fire at Al-Hussein Hospital in Nasiriya city in Dhi Qar governorate include "30 unidentified bodies because of charring."

He also said that civil defense teams are looking for other possible bodies.

At least 36 people dead, 5 others injured in fire at COVID-19 hospital in Iraq

DHI QAR, IRAQ - JULY 13: Smoke rises after fire broke out for an unknown reason in a COVID-19 isolation ward of Al-Hussein Hospital in Nasiriya city in Dhi Qar governorate, Iraq on July 13, 2021. At least 36 people have been killed and five others injured. ( Arshad Mohammed - Anadolu Agency )

Earlier on Tuesday, Iraqi authorities put the death toll from the blaze at 64 along with 50 injuries.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an emergency meeting with ministers and security officials to discuss the fire, according to a statement from his press office.

Following the meeting, Dhi Qar Governor Ahmed al-Khafaji said in a statement that a high-level committee was formed to investigate the exact cause of the fire and to present a final report to the public within 48 hours.

A state of mourning has been declared in Dhi Qar for those who lost their lives in the fire and official working hours were suspended for three days from Tuesday.

Earlier Monday, a fire broke out on the fourth floor of the Ministry of Health in central Baghdad.


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