On Sunday, a fire broke out in Baghdad's Ibn-al-Khatib hospital, killing 82 people. This succeeded by the suspension of the Hassan Al-Tamimi, the Health Minister and Muhammad Jaber, the Governor of Baghdad. In addition to the death of 82 patients in the hospital, around 110 were injured, and 28 patients had to be taken off ventilators for saving them from the flames.
This incident stirred outrage amongst the people and was greatly criticised even on social media. The outrage further geared up, and people started to demand the suspension of the concerned authorities, who were allegedly ignorant and careless towards the health infrastructure. On further investigation on the matter, it came to light that the hospital did not have any fire protection system and had false ceilings, which facilitated the spread of the fire. On asking the fire service of Iraq, they said that the fire gulped the entire hospital so quickly that it took merely three minutes to spread to most floors. "It took just three minutes for the fire to reach most floors," said the fire service staff as reported by News18.
The cause of the fire came out to be the poor accommodation of the oxygen cylinders which on some chemical reaction gave rise to the explosion. In addition to the suspension of the Health Minister and Governor of Baghdad, the Prime Minister of Iraq Mustafa Al-Khadimi fired the hospital's chief and its director of security and maintenance. On Sunday, a special Cabinet Session was arranged when the order of suspension of the Health Minister and the Governor was passed, and the incident was forwarded for further investigation. The Iraq Government additionally declared three days for National Mourning because of the unfortunate deaths that occurred in the hospital fire.
This incident occurred when the country is already battling with over 1 million infections and 15,000 deaths in a land of 40 million population. It had, however, launched its vaccination campaign last month and received around 650,000 vaccines, most of which are received through the Covax scheme for less wealthy nations or by donation.
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