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Death toll rises to 92 in blaze at Iraq coronavirus ward

Rescuers and civilians look for bodies after a catastrophic blaze erupted Monday at a coronavirus hospital ward in the al-Hussein Teaching Hospital, in Nasiriyah, Iraq, on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)
Rescuers and civilians look for bodies after a catastrophic blaze erupted Monday at a coronavirus hospital ward in the al-Hussein Teaching Hospital, in Nasiriyah, Iraq, on Tuesday, July 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

The death toll from a fire that swept through a coronavirus ward in a hospital in Iraq climbs to 92 as anguished relatives bury their loved ones and lash out at the government over the country’s second such disaster in less than three months.

Health officials say scores of others were injured in the blaze that erupted today at al-Hussein Teaching Hospital in Nasiriyah. The tragedy cast a spotlight on what many have decried as widespread negligence and mismanagement in Iraq’s hospitals after decades of war and sanctions.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has convened an emergency meeting to order the suspension and arrest of the health director in Dhi Qar provice, the hospital director and the city’s civil defense chief. The government has also launched an investigation.

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