Naharnet

Eight Babies Killed in Algeria Hospital Fire

Eight babies were killed when a fire ripped through a maternity hospital in eastern Algeria before dawn on Tuesday, emergency services said.

"We managed to rescue 11 babies, 107 women and 28 staff" after the 3:50 am (0250 GMT) fire in the hospital in Oued Souf, 500 kilometres (300 miles) southeast of Algiers, spokesman Captain Nassim Bernaoui told AFP.

"Unfortunately we regret the deaths of eight babies, some from burns and others from smoke inhalation."

Dozens of fire engines were deployed to bring the blaze under control.

The cause of the fire was not immediately clear, Bernaoui said.

Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui ordered an inquiry and sent Health Minister Mohamed Miraoui to the scene of the fire.

It was the second blaze to hit the maternity hospital in Oued Souf in 18 months. A fire in May last year caused significant damage but no casualties.

The hospital is one of five in the town, including a specialist eye hospital staffed by Cuban doctors.

Source: Agence France Presse


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