At least 11 newborn babies have perished after a fire swept through a hospital ward. Iraq's health ministry says the blaze broke out inside Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad.
Health Ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Roudaini said Wednesday that a deadly fire had killed 11 newborns inside the hospital in a western district of the Iraqi capital.
The ministry also reported 29 adult women and nine other babies injured in the fire.
Patients were transferred to nearby hospitals. Initial findings indicate the incident was caused by an electrical short circuit and three infants are being treated for smoke inhalation, Roudaini said.
The blaze broke out in a corridor of the maternity ward of al-Yarmouk, one of the largest public sector hospitals in Baghdad. It took three hours to put out the blaze that engulfed the ward, a medical staffer told Reuters.
Burnt incubators outside Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad on August 10, 2016 after an overnight fire tore through the maternity ward, killing at least 11 premature babies.
Premature babies perished
Police sealed off the area as forensic teams searched the burnt ward as angry relatives massed outside, waiting for information from the authorities.
Complaints of dirty conditions and infestations have been rife throughout Iraq's public sector health facilities. The relative of a patient who died recently in the hospital from meningitis said he saw cockroaches crawling along the tube of an oxygen mask.
"It was so dirty," the man told Reuters said. "We had to bring our own bed sheets."
Thirteen years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, the oil-rich country still suffers a shortage of electricity, water, schools and hospitals.
jar/kl (AP, dpa, Reuters, AFP)