No fewer than eleven new born babies have been confirmed dead after an overnight fire ripped through a maternity ward at a Yarmouk hospital in western Baghdad, Iraq. The blaze which reportedly broke out on Tuesday night was caused by faulty electrical wiring, an Iraqi health ministry spokesman, Ahmed al-Roudaini said.
Meanwhile, 29 female patients and seven babies were moved from the maternity ward and transferred to another hospital after the incident, Mada Press, an independent news agency in Baghdad reports.
Howbeit, by morning, grief-stricken fathers searched for their missing newborns in vain while angry relatives gathered outside the Yarmouk hospital in western Baghdad blamed the government for the tragedy, CBC reports.
One father, Hussein Omar, said his twins had died in the blaze, a boy and a girl born last week. The 30-year-old construction worker said the hospital had initially told him to look for them at another hospital in the city where some of the patients were moved to during the fire.
In his words, “When I got there I only found charred pieces of flesh,” he said. “I want my baby boy and girl back. The government must give them back to me.” Omar added.
Another relative of one of the victims, Eshrak Ahmed Jaasar, 41, said she was unable to find her four-day-old nephew.
According to her, “I came early this morning to see my nephew and his mother, but they told me about the fire,” Jasaar said. “My nephew is still missing and his mother was moved to another hospital ward.”
Speaking further, Jaasar maintained that she was still in shock and felt very bitter, “We pay the hospital employees thousands of Iraqi dinars to allow us in to get our loved ones basic food and milk, which they cannot provide,” Jasaar said. “It’s a corrupt government that doesn’t care about its citizens and lets this happen.” She added.
Meanwhile, Baghdad authorities initially sealed off the hospital but later allowed some media into the site.