Baghdad: At least 12 prematurely-born infants died after the fire broke out overnight, at the Yarmouk maternity hospital on Wednesday in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, the health ministry said in a statement.
Iraqi authorities said the fire probably caused by an electrical fault and it took three hours to put out the fire. Firefighters and hospital staff took about three hours to put out the blaze that engulfed the wards.
Nearly 19 of the children and women who survived needed treatment for burns and smoke inhalation.
Pictures posted on social media clearly indicate the mismanagement of the hospital which was in a state of negligence with cockroaches crawling out from between broken tiles, dustbins overflowing with rubbish, dirty toilets and patients lying on stretchers in the courtyard.
The effects of the fire made it very difficult for the families to identify the bodies. Eshrak Ahmed Jaasar, 41, who was unable to find her four- day-old nephew, blamed the government for the tragedy.
“We pay the hospital employees thousands of Iraqi dinars to allow us in to get our loved ones basic food and milk, which they cannot provide,” she said. “It’s a corrupt government that doesn’t care about its citizens and lets this happen.”