Tags: baghdad | hospital | fire | premature | babies

Baghdad Hospital Fire Kills 12 Premature Babies

Image: Baghdad Hospital Fire Kills 12 Premature Babies

Burnt incubators sit outside Yarmuk Hospital in west Baghdad. (SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Thursday, 11 Aug 2016 06:08 AM

A fire tore through the maternity ward of one of Baghdad's largest hospitals Wednesday, killing at least 12 premature babies, Agence France-Presse reported medical and security officials as saying.

Jassem Lateef al-Hijami, from the Baghdad health directorate, told reporters only seven babies could be saved and were taken to another ward in the Iraqi capital.

Health ministry spokesman Ahmed al-Rudeini told AFP the blaze at the Yarmuk hospital in west Baghdad was started by an electrical fault just after midnight local time.

"Twenty-nine women patients who were in the same ward were evacuated to other hospitals," he said.

Security services sealed off the area as forensic teams searched the gutted ward and angry relatives massed outside, waiting for information from the authorities.

Charred incubators could be seen outside one of the entrances to the hospital, access to which was strictly controlled by the police.

The grief of the bereaved parents and relatives was compounded by the fact that the babies' young age and the effects of the fire made it very difficult to identify the bodies.

Umm Ahmed came to Yarmuk on Tuesday when a close relative of hers gave birth. The baby died in the inferno and the mother suffered burns, she said.

"I am looking for our child, they told me 'go find him in the fridge'," said the middle-aged woman.

"I just want our child, somebody give him to me," she cried.

An official at Iraq's interior ministry confirmed the death toll from the fire, adding that three other babies were being treated for smoke inhalation.

Many of Baghdad's public hospitals are poorly maintained and offer sub-standard healthcare, forcing a number of Iraqis to seek private treatment or travel abroad.

"The hospital is very old and doesn't have fire equipment," Hijami said.

© AFP 2017

   
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A fire tore through the maternity ward of one of Baghdad's largest hospitals Wednesday, killing at least 12 premature babies.
baghdad, hospital, fire, premature, babies
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2016-08-11
Thursday, 11 Aug 2016 06:08 AM
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