The families of the victims and the doctors working in the facility accuse the authorities of neglect and lack of basic security measures.
On Tuesday, rescuers, using heavy equipment, removed charred and molten structures from the municipal hospital where COVID-19 patients were treated. Not fast enough to fight fires, not enough firefighters. The sick are burning alive. This is a disaster that gathers with other relatives of the victims outside the city mortuary, waiting for the bodies of those killed in the fire to be released, Mohamed Fadel said, quoting Reuters.
According to local officials, the charred bodies of 21 victims have not yet been identified.
Local health authorities said the fire that broke out on Monday night was caused by an explosion in oxygen cylinders. Police and Civil Defense said a preliminary investigation showed that sparks from the faulty wires moved to the oxygen tank, which then exploded.
“The hospital lacks a fire sprinkler system or even a normal fire alarm. Every time we get the same answer from health officials: ‘There is not enough money,'” a doctor at the hospital told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
This is the second tragedy of its kind in three months. A similar incident occurred in April when an oxygen cylinder explosion at a Covid-19 hospital in Baghdad caused a fire that killed at least 82 people and injured 110.
Torn by internal strife and weakened by international sanctions, Iraq’s health care system has been battered for years by economic hardship and corruption, still battling the coronavirus. So far, 17,592 people have died in the country from Covis-19, and about 1.4 million infections have been identified since the beginning of the pandemic.