A fire spread across the Imam Al-Hussein hospital in the southern city of Nassiriya, Iraq, killing 64, and injuring 67 others, according to CNN. In addition, 16 people were rescued from the fire. The cause of the fire was due to an explosion of an oxygen tank. Victims inside were burned to death, and there are speculations that some people are still trapped within the building, as the search continues. Health sources stated they could be seeing an increase in the number of deaths as people were still missing.
Moreover, the directors of the Dhi Qar health department were detained and will be investigated, along with the directors of the hospital. All of the critically injured victims have been sent outside of Iraq to receive treatment, and as for the deceased, an official mourning day was declared for them.
Back in April, another hospital exploded that lead to the suspension and then resignation of Hassan Al-Tamimi, the health minister at that time. Evidently, the health care system is struggling in Iraq, especially due to the ongoing pandemic. People are in a rage due to the explosion back in April and of the most recent one, demanding on social media that action must be taken and calling for the resignation of top officials.
Iraq’s Parliament President tweeted that the incident at Al-Hussein hospital is clear evidence of the failure to protect Iraqi people. He stated that it was time to put an end to this catastrophic failure, and that the parliament will set a date to discuss options.
Two health workers were amongst those who lost their lives in the matter, and after the fire, the health department of Dhi Qar declared a state of emergency in the governorate, with doctors being assigned to treat the injured. The Iraqi Prime Minister called for an emergency meeting to all ministers and security leaders to discuss the situation, forming a committee to investigate the cause of the fire. However, Major General Kazem Salman Buhan stated that he will be announcing soon a detailed report on the cause of the fire.