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92 die in Iraq Covid hospital fire – Eagles Vine

BAGHDAD:The death toll from a fire that tore through a coronavirus hospital in Iraq rose to 92, health officials said on Tuesday, as authorities faced accusations of negligence from grieving relatives and a doctor who works there. More than 100 others were injured in the blaze, which an investigation showed began when sparks from faulty wiring spread to an oxygen tank that then exploded, police and civil defence authorities said. It was Iraq’s second such tragedy in three months, and the country’s president on Tuesday blamed corruption for both.
Rescue teams were using a heavy crane to remove the charred and melted remains of the part of the city’s al-Hussain hospital where Covid-19 patients were being treated, as relatives gathered nearby. A medic at the hospital, who declined to give his name, said the absence of basic of safety measures meant it was an accident in the making. “The hospital lacks a fire sprinkler system or even a simple fire alarm,” he said.
In April, a similar explosion at Baghdad Covid-19 hospital killed at least 82 and injured 110.
Iraq’s semi-official Human Rights Commission said Monday’s blast showed how ineffective safety measures still were in a health system crippled by war and sanctions. The fact that the hospital had been built with lightweight sandwich panels separating the wards had made the fire spread faster, local civil defence authority head Salah Jabbar said. Health and civil defence managers in the city and the hospital’s manager had been suspended and arrested on Monday on the orders of PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi, his office said. Government investigators arrived in Nassiriya on Tuesday morning, according to a statement. Their findings would be announced within a week, Kadhimi’s office said.
Iraq is in the midst of a third wave of coronavirus infections. Last week, the country reached a high of 9,000 new cases a day with over 17,000 dead since the pandemic began, according to the health ministry.

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