Hospital heads in Iraq’s Dhi Qar quit posts after fire tragedy

File – People inspect Imam Hussein coronavirus hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq (Reuters photo)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Several hospital administrators in the southern Iraq province of Dhi Qar have abandoned their posts, AFP cited local authorities as saying on Saturday.

Dhi Qar health director Saad al-Majid told AFP that management teams of five hospitals had quit as “they’re unwilling to assume responsibility” over any possible repeat of the fire that killed at least 60 people on Monday.

An investigation showed the fire began when sparks from faulty wiring spread to an oxygen tank that then exploded, police and civil defense authorities said.

The officials’ attempt to quit came after arrest warrants were issued for senior staff following the deadly fire in Nasiriyah.

It was Iraq’s second such tragedy in three months, and the country’s president on Tuesday blamed corruption for both. In April, a similar explosion at a Baghdad COVID-19 hospital killed at least 82 and injured 110.

On Saturday, a small fire broke out at al-Haboubi hospital in Nasiriyah but it was quickly put out by fire crews, with no fatalities recorded, according to AFP.

Much of its health infrastructure is dilapidated, and investment in public services has been hamstrung by endemic corruption.

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