Fire at Iraqi hospital kills 12 newborn babies, some still in incubators

    Twelve newborn babies were killed in a fire in an Iraqi hospital
    Some of the victims are premature babies still inside incubators
    Hospital officials said faulty electrical wiring caused the blaze

Twelve newborn babies, some of them premature still inside incubators, perished in a three-hour fire that tore through the maternity ward of a hospital in Iraq on Tuesday night, August 9. The deadly blaze was reportedly caused by faulty electric wiring. Grief-stricken parents searched for their babies, while their relatives gathered outside the al-Yarmouk Hospital In western Baghdad blamed the government for the tragedy.

Saad Hatem Ahmed, the hospital director, said they have evacuated 29 female patients and 8 babies from the maternity ward where the fire broke out and were transferred to another hospital.

Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to talk to media, a doctor at the hospital said some of the dead babies are “preemies” [premature].

A 30-year-old father, Hussein Omar, believed his twins, a baby boy and a girl born last week, perished in the blaze. He said he was looking for them when he was told by the hospital staff to look for them at the hospital where the survivors were taken.

Omar said he went to the other hospital but could not find his twin babies, so he went back to Yarmouk Hospital where he was told to look for them at the morgue.

“I only found charred pieces of flesh, Omar cried.  “I want my baby boy and girl back. The government must give them back to me.”

Nearby, a mother was trembling in shock after losing her 2-day old baby.

“I waited for ages to have this baby and when I finally had him, it took only a second to lose him,” the grieving mother said.

According to NPR News, fires are common in Iraq because of shoddy maintenance and poor electrical wiring. Fires were made more dangerous because of substandard building practices and lack of emergency exits.
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