Iraqi Health Ministry says the cause of the fire in Yarmouk hospital is not known yet.

Burned incubators for newborn babies are dumped outside the maternity ward.
Burned incubators for newborn babies are dumped outside the maternity ward.

More than 12 premature babies have been killed in a fire at the maternity ward of a Baghdad hospital, Iraqi authorities said on Wednesday.

Jassem Lateef al-Karkh from the Baghdad health directorate said seven babies were evacuated and transferred to nearby hospitals.

The fire broke out in the pre-term birth unit of Yarmouk Hospital in west Baghdad after midnight, according to Health Ministry Spokesman Ahmed al-Rudeini.

"Twenty-nine women patients who were in the same ward were evacuated to other hospitals," he said.

The cause is as yet not known but the health ministry said it was probably triggered by an electrical fault.

Many of Baghdad's hospitals are in poor conditions.The lack of adequate health service, electricity and water supply directs thousand of Iraqis to private hospitals or abroad to get a treatment.

"The hospital is very old and doesn't have fire equipment," Karkh said.

Pictures revealed following the incident on social media showed that cockroaches are crawling out from between broken tiles, dustbins with full of rubbish, dirty toilets and patients lying on stretchers in the courtyard.

A man whose relative recently died from meningitis in the hospital said he saw cockroaches crawling along the tube of an oxygen mask.

"It was so dirty," he said.

"We had to bring our own bed sheets."

Source: TRTWorld and agencies