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64 killed in huge fire at hospital in southern Iraq

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-13 07:03

A man inspects the damage at the site where a fire broke out at al-Hussain coronavirus hospital, in Nassiriya, Iraq, July 13, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

BAGHDAD - Up to 64 people were killed and some 50 others wounded in a huge fire that broke out in a hospital treating COVID-19 patients in Iraq's southern province of Dhi Qar, the official Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported on Tuesday.

"The latest toll of the fire in the quarantine center in al-Hussein Hospital in the provincial capital al-Nasiriyah rose to 64 killed and 50 wounded," a spokesman for the Health Department of Dhi Qar Province, Ammar al-Zamily, was quoted by the INA as saying.

On Monday evening, a huge fire broke out in the quarantine center and quickly spread to 20 sandwich panel caravans nearby in the makeshift center at the site of al-Hussein Hospital in al-Nasiriyah, some 375 km south of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Firefighters and teams of civil defense rushed to the scene to evacuate the patients and health workers, while they put out the fire hours later, al-Zamily said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi held an emergency meeting with some cabinet ministers and security commanders to discuss the hospital fire and its consequences, al-Kadhimi's media office said in a statement.

Al-Kadhimi decided to suspend and detain the director-general of the provincial health department, the director of the hospital, and the provincial civil defense director, and ordered an investigation into the deadly incident, said the statement.

He also decided to declare a national mourning in honor of the casualties of the fire, it added.

Iraqi Parliament Speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi tweeted that the parliament session on Tuesday will discuss the incident.

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