Local governor questioned by Iraqi Parliament as death toll from Nasiriyah hospital fire increases

In the second deadly hospital fire since April, at least 92 people have died with the death toll expected to increase as the clean up continues.

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Parliamentary Speaker Mohammed Al-Halbousi gave a statement on Wednesday regarding the hospital fire at Al-Hussein Hospital in Nasiriyah which read, “The Parliament will question the governor of Dhi Qar and the committee that was formed to investigate the fire in the Constitutional Hall on Wednesday afternoon.”

Al-Hussein Hospital in Dhi Qar’s Nasiriyah city caught fire earlier this week resulting in the deaths of 92 people and at least 110 injuries.

The Dhi Qar Health Department attributed the cause of the fire at the hospital to “mishandling of oxygen cannisters.” Reuters reported that “sparks from faulty wiring” led to an oxygen tank to explode which resulted in the deadly fire.

According to sources on the ground, the death toll increased as relatives of patients also perished as they ran in the blazing fire to save their loved ones.

Barham Salih, the President of Iraq, called for an investigation into the incident on his Twitter account. “This tragic event is the result of corruption and mismanagement,” his tweet read.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has also called for an investigation into the fire and gave an order for the health directors of the province and hospital to be arrested. He also conducted a visit to Nasiriyah to observe rescue efforts in person.

Arrest warrants have been issued for an undisclosed number of officials accused of negligence.

In a similar incident on April 24, oxygen tanks in Baghdad’s Ibn Al-Khatib Hospital’s intensive care ward exploded, causing a massive fire which killed at least 130 people and injured 110.

In April’s fire accident, former Minister of Health, Hassan al-Tamimi was forced to resign. The Health Minister post is yet to be filled as al-Kadhimi nominated a candidate for a possible replacement on Tuesday.

Dhi Qar Governor Yahia Nasseri is facing an investigation by the Parliament and he could be dismissed as a result of negligence and corruption.

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