In the early morning hours of Wednesday [August 10], 12 pre-term infants were tragically killed in a blaze Iraqi Civil Defense says was accidentally started due to an electric short circuit.
According to the Iraqi Health Ministry, the babies were all in the pre-term birth unit in Yarmouk Hospital and died of suffocation in the fire.
Somewhere between 11 and 12 other babies in addition to 29 women were rescued from the Yarmuk hospital’s maternity ward and were transferred to other hospitals.
Yarmuk is a main hospital on the western side of the Iraqi capital, and according to one medic, it took firefighters and hospital staff approximately three hours to put out the fire that had taken over its maternity ward.
This deadly incident comes as a time when public scrutiny of mismanagement and state corruption is at a devastating high, as amateur photos and videos posted on social media displayed the horrifying state of neglect in which the Yarmouk Hospital found itself.
Among the disturbing images were cockroaches crawling between broken tiles, trash that had not been taken out, and patients lying on stretchers in the hospital’s courtyard.