At least 34 were also wounded in the explosion at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital, according to the health officials.
“Civil defense teams are still at the scene of the accident, investigating the causes that led to this fire, which caused the loss of the lives of many of patients and their companions,” according to a statement released by Iraq’s Health Ministry on Sunday.
The ministry said health workers and civil defense teams were able to save at least 200 people including patients, and will have an exact number of those killed and wounded at a later time.
Social media videos showed a chaotic scene as firefighters scrambled to put out the blaze and health workers tried to evacuate patients.
People from all over Iraq are referred to the hospital in southeastern Baghdad, including many with Covid-19.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi sent his condolences to the victims of the Baghdad hospital fire and is ordering an immediate investigation, according to his office.
“Mr. Al-Khadimi ordered an immediate investigation into the causes of the accident with the people in charge in the Ministry (of health) and he ordered to summon the hospital’s manager, the security manager (of the hospital) and those responsible for maintaining the equipment in the hospital to immediately investigate with them on the background of the accident … until the investigations are completed and all those who are negligent are held accountable.”
The Independent High Commission for Human Rights of Iraq (IHCHR) called on the Iraq government to take a “responsible position” following the hospital fire.
The IHCHR called the incident a “crime against patients who were forced by the severity of the disease as a result of Covid-19 infection to be hospitalized,” in a statement issued Sunday.