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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Medical staff members walk at Ibn Al Khatib hospital after a fire caused by an oxygen tank explosion in Baghdad on Sunday. Reuters
The UAE on Sunday expressed its condolences over the victims of the tragic hospital accident in the Iraqi capital.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation stated that the UAE expresses its sincere condolences and sympathy to the sisterly Republic of Iraq, government and people, for the victims of the tragic accident resulting from a blaze at the Ibn Al Khatib Hospital in Baghdad and affirms its solidarity with the Republic of Iraq in this casualty.
A patient suffering from coronavirus is prepared for evacuation in an ambulance outside Ibn Al Khatib hospital. Reuters
The ministry added, "The leadership, government and people of the UAE offer sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this tragedy and wish a speedy recovery to the injured."
Meanwhile, Iraq's Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhemi on Sunday suspended Health Minister Hassan Al Tamimi while he is questioned over a fire in a Baghdad COVID-19 hospital that killed 82 people.
A mourner is consoled during the funeral of a man, who was killed in a fire at Ibn Al Khatib hospital. AFP
Baghdad governor Mohammed Jaber and the head of the health department for eastern Baghdad, where the Ibn Al Khatib hospital is located, will also be questioned, said a statement from Kadhemi. "The results of this investigation will be presented to the government within five days," the statement added.
Earlier during the day, the Iraqi interior ministry said at least 82 people had died in the disaster, with 110 wounded. Many of the victims were on respirators when the blaze started pre-dawn on Sunday.
Mourners pray near the coffins of coronavirus patients that were killed in a hospital fire. AP
Flames spread quickly across multiple floors in the middle of the night, as dozens of relatives were at the bedsides of the 30 patients in the hospital's intensive care unit, a medical source said.
"The hospital had no fire protection system and false ceilings allowed the flames to spread to highly flammable products," Iraq's civil defence arm said.
Many "victims died because they had to be moved and were taken off ventilators, while the others were suffocated by the smoke," it added.
Medical staff walk past the closed-off entrance of Ibn Al Khatib Hospital. AFP
More than 200 patients in all were rescued, according to the health ministry. With the pandemic still raging, governments around the world are placing their hopes on vaccines.
Worldwide, the number of vaccine doses administered has doubled in less than a month.
WAM / Agence France-Presse
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