A fire at a hospital in southern Iraq killed at least 52 people and injured 22 on Monday, local health authorities and police said.
The fire broke out at the Covid ward of Imam al-Hussein Hospital in the city of Nasiriya in Dhi Qar province, 375 kilometers south of the capital Baghdad. The fire is extinguished and rescuers search for more bodies in the destroyed building. A state of emergency has been declared in the province so that doctors who are on vacation or retired can be called in for help.
Exploded oxygen tank
The cause of the fire in the corona department, which has seventy beds, is probably an exploded oxygen tank. Health authorities said they expected the number of victims to rise as people are still missing. Two health workers are among the dead. Angry relatives gathered in front of the hospital and clashed with the police.
In April this year, a major fire also broke out at a corona hospital in the Iraqi capital Baghdad. An oxygen tank exploded in the intensive care unit. At least 82 people were killed and 110 people were injured.