Eleven newborn babies are dead after a fire broke out in the maternity ward of a Baghdad hospital on Wednesday. Although the fire has caused outrage from the public who blame the government for the fatalities, the Civil Defense reported that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.
According to the Iraqi health Ministry spokesperson Ahmed al-Rdainy, the babies – some premature – were in the pre-term birth unit in the Yarmouk Hospital, CNN reported. Their deaths were caused by suffocation.
29 women in the maternity ward were transferred to other hospitals in the Iraqi capital. Per The New York Times, some of the evacuated women were at the state-supported hospital waiting for cesarean sections.
Not long after the fire, a crowd surfaced near the hospital despite official’s attempts to block it off.
Many of the people clamoring around the hospital were relatives of the deceased babies, some of which hadn’t even been notified that their children’s lives were claimed by the fire.
30-year-old Hussein Omar, a father of twins who had been born just a week ago, told the Associated Press to look for his infant son and daughter at another hospital. When he couldn’t find them he return to Yarmouk only to be told to look for his babies at the morgue.
“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.”
Some social media users said they believe the fire was caused by the country's suffering government system, and many took to Twitter to blast what they said was the government’s inability to keep the people safe. Some of the online statements pointed to what they called inequities that only seem to be aimed at the poor.
“We never hear that the parliament or the president's office have burnt down, only the institutions where the poor people go," a Twitter user wrote.
Others have pointed out how the government’s corruption has trickled down to effecting innocent children. Some people have even called for the country’s health minister’s resignation. Below is a sampling of other related Twitter reactions: