The fire in the coronavirus ward of Nasiriya Hospital is the second time in three months that it has hit the COVID ward of an Iraqi hospital.

A fire in the coronavirus isolation ward of an Iraqi hospital killed at least 52 people. This is the second fatal fire in a COVID-19 ward in three months.

On Monday night, a fire broke out in the Hussein Hospital in the southern city of Nasiriyah. The Civil Defense Team has brought the fire under control.

A medical source from the Health Bureau told AFP that “the main reason behind the fire… is the explosion of the oxygen tank.”

Local health authority spokesman Haydar al-Zamili said earlier on Tuesday that 52 bodies had been found and 22 others were injured after the fire “burned down the Covid isolation ward.”

“The victim died of burns and the search is continuing,” he added, noting that there are concerns that people may still be trapped in the building.

The ward has 70 beds.

Health sources told Reuters that as many patients are still missing, the death toll may rise. They said there were two health workers among the dead.

Health officials in Nasiriya stated that the search in the hospital was still continuing, but the heavy smoke made it difficult to enter some burned wards.

The screen shows flames passing through the building and producing black smoke [Screengrab from videoa/AP]

A video shared online showed thick smoke billowing from the hospital building.

Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Abdul Wahid reported from Baghdad that his family and city residents had arrived at the scene.

“Many people walked onto the streets of Nasiriyah and in front of the hospital,” said Abdul Wahid, who said the hospital manager had resigned.

A Reuters witness said that angry relatives clashed with the police and set fire to two police cars.

“Corrupt officials must be responsible for the fire and killing of innocent patients. Where is my father’s body,” said a young man as he searched for the charred corpse wrapped in a blanket in the hospital yard.

According to a report by Abdul Wahid, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Kadimi also declared a state of emergency in the Dhi Qar province where Nasiriyah is located.

In a tweet, al-Kadhimi said that his office is holding an emergency meeting to discuss the “cause and impact” of the incident.

Earlier Monday, a small fire broke out at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health in Baghdad, but it was quickly brought under control and caused no casualties.

The fire at Nasiriya Hospital is the second such tragedy this year.

In April, Fire in Baghdad COVID-19 hospital The explosion of an improperly stored oxygen cylinder caused 82 deaths and 110 injuries.

Many victims were treated for COVID-19 wearing respirators and were burned or suffocated in the resulting hell, which spread rapidly in hospitals, where dozens of relatives were visiting patients in the intensive care unit.

The Minister of Health Hassan al-Tamimi resigned.

Iraq has recorded more than 1.4 million coronavirus cases and more than 17,000 deaths.


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