A fire that broke out on Wednesday killed 12 prematurely born babies in a maternity ward in the Yarmuk hospital in western Baghdad due to an electrical fault.
About 12 other newborns and 29 women were rescued from the hospital’s maternity ward and transferred to other hospitals. The hospital staff and Firefighters took about 3 hours to extinguish the blaze that engulf the ward at Yarmuk.
By morning, brokenhearted fathers searched for their missing babies in vain while annoyed relatives gathered outside the hospital, blamed the government for the tragedy.
When the fire started late Tuesday night in the maternity ward at one of Baghdad’s main hospitals, it rapidly engulfed the babies’ room. Hospital workers rushed to save the newborns, but nobody could find the keys of the nursery. Strangely, no nurses seemed to be inside. In fact, none of the fire extinguishers functioned. It took nearly an hour and a half for firefighters to arrive.
There was a baby boy, Yaman Muaad, who died a few hours later, born by cesarean section on Tuesday. There was a baby, Jafar Kahtan, being treated for breathing difficulties. There was a baby girl, Zahra Hussein, born on Monday, whose grandfather was frenetically looking for her on Wednesday.
Shayma Hussain, mother of Haider Mohammad Azeez compared the leaders of the government-run hospital to the terrorists of the Islamic State, saying that both politicians and militants are responsible for Iraq’s endless trauma.
The incident is probable to intensify allegation of corruption and mismanagement. with the pictures posted on social media of dustbins overflowing with rubbish, cockroaches crawling out from between broken tiles, dirty toilets and patients’ lying in the courtyard showed the hospital in a state of neglect. The family member of a patient who expired recently in the hospital from meningitis said he noticed cockroaches crawling along the pipe of an oxygen mask.
The last big news of Iraq was in Baghdad last month, a destructive truck bomb that killed about 300 people, the worst terrorist invasion in the capital since the American attack of 2003. The bombing set off an inferno that engulfed a shopping mall, where many families and young people were celebrating one of the last nights of the holy month of Ramadan. Many died from the fire than from the bomb blast, and in the after effects officials blamed poor safety procedures and a lack of fire exits for the number of deaths.