82 killed in Iraq as fire erupts at COVID-19 hospital

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The video item below is a piece of English language content from Al Jazeera. Al Jazeera is a Qatari state-funded broadcaster based in Doha, Qatar, owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network.

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  • Al Jazeera English published this video item, entitled “82 killed in Iraq as fire erupts at COVID-19 hospital” – below is their description.

    At least 82 people were killed and more than 100 injured in a fire that broke out in the coronavirus intensive care unit of a Baghdad hospital, sparking anger and prompting the suspension of top officials in a country with a long-dilapidated health infrastructure.

    The blaze on Saturday night at the Ibn al-Khatib Hospital in the Iraqi capital was sparked by an accident that caused an oxygen tank to explode, according to medical sources.

    The health ministry announced on Sunday that 82 people were killed and 110 were injured in the blaze, while the Iraqi Human Rights Commission said 28 of the victims were patients who had to be taken off ventilators to escape the flames.

    The flames spread quickly, according to civil defence officials, as “the hospital had no fire protection system and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products”.

    In response to the fire, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi suspended Health Minister Hassan al-Tamimi amid angry calls on social media for him to be sacked, as part of a probe that would also include the governor of Baghdad.

    Al Jazeera’s Simona Foltyn reports from Baghdad.

    Al Jazeera English YouTube Channel

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  • In This Story: Iraq

    Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq, is a country in Western Asia. The capital and largest city is Baghdad. Iraq is home to diverse ethnic groups including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians, Yazidis, Shabakis, Armenians, Mandaeans, Circassians, Sabians and Kawliya. Around 99% of the country’s 38 million citizens are Muslims, with small minorities of Christians, Yarsans, Yezidis and Mandeans also present. The official languages of Iraq are Arabic and Kurdish.

    Iraq has a coastline measuring 58 km (36 miles) on the northern Persian Gulf and encompasses the Mesopotamian Alluvial Plain, the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range and the eastern part of the Syrian Desert. Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf. These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, historically known as Mesopotamia, is often referred to as the cradle of civilisation.

    Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates, four of which make up the autonomous Kurdistan Region. Disputes over the sovereignty of Kurdistan Region continue.

    Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF.

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