Wednesday 16 October 2019

Eight newborn babies die in fire at Algerian hospital

People standing outside the maternity unit of a hospital in Oued Sou
Photo by STRINGER / various sources / AFP
People standing outside the maternity unit of a hospital in Oued Sou Photo by STRINGER / various sources / AFP

Lamine Chikhi and Hamid Ould Ahmed

Eight newborn babies have died in a fire in a neonatal hospital in Algeria's El Oued early on Tuesday, the fire service was quoted as saying on state media.

A preliminary inquiry showed an electrical short circuit caused the fire, some 633 km (395 miles) south of Algiers, it added.

Three infants died as a result of burns and the other five by asphyxiation, state news agency APS said.

More than 70 people, including 11 infants, 37 women and 25 hospital workers were rescued.

Health Minister Mohamed Bouraoui suspended the hospital manager and the health director of El Oued province, which borders Tunisia, state television reported.

The quality of government services has often been a cause of frustration and anger in Algeria, particularly in areas outside the capital.

Reuters

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