12 Newborns burned alive after blaze consumed entire maternity ward
In a statement given by Jassem Lateef al-Hijami from the Baghdad health directorate, authorities only managed to save seven babies from the ward.
It’s always heartbreaking to hear about precious children and babies perishing in an accident, no matter where they are in the world and the colour of their skin.
That’s why the news about a blaze in a Baghdad hospital that killed at least 12 newborn babies is hard to stomach.
According to a Straits Times report, the fire took place at the maternity ward of the city’s largest hospitals. The fire also killed killed medical and security officials working there.
In a statement given by Jassem Lateef al-Hijami from the Baghdad health directorate, authorities only managed to save seven babies from the ward, and they have since been taken to another ward in the Iraqi capital.
Meanwhile, health ministry spokesperson Ahmed al-Rudeini said that the blaze at the Yarmuk hospital in west Baghdad started when an electrical fault malfunctioned after midnight of August 10.
"Twenty-nine women patients who were in the same ward were evacuated to other hospitals," he said.
While forensic teams searched the fire-ravished remains of the ward, security services sealed off the area.
Outside, the angry and grieving familes of burned victims awaited for answers from authorities.
There could also be seen at the hospital’s entrance charred incubators that survived the accident.
“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,” said the Straits Times report.
The report also said that many of the city’s public hospitals are poorly maintained, and that the healthcare offered are well below the standards.
As a result, many Iraqis choose to travel abroad to seek private treatment.
"The hospital is very old and doesn't have fire equipment," Hijami said.
The capital has also seen a series of protest from its citizens due to dismal public services such as quality medical care, electricity and water supply.
“Iraq is one of the world's top oil producers but conflict and endemic graft have prevented that wealth from translating into better living conditions for Iraqis,” said the same report.
Photo credit: AFP / Strats Times
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