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Thursday, 26 May 2022 – Eleven newborn babies have died in a hospital fire in the western city of Tivaouane in Senegal, the president of the country said late Wednesday May 25.

President Macky Sall announced on Twitter that 11 infants had died in the fire at Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital.

“I have just learned with pain and dismay about the deaths of 11 newborn babies in the fire at the neonatal department of the public hospital,” he tweeted.

“To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy,” Sall added.

The tragedy was caused by “a short circuit”, according to Senegalese politician Diop Sy.

“The fire spread very quickly,” he said.

The city’s mayor Demba Diop said “three babies were saved”.

According to local media, the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh Hospital was newly inaugurated.

Health minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr, who was in Geneva attending a meeting with the World Health Organization, said he would return to Senegal immediately.

“This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful,” he said on radio. “An investigation is under way to see what happened.”

The tragedy also follows a national outcry over the death of a woman in labour, Astou Sokhna, who died while reportedly begging for a Caesarean during her 20-hour labour ordeal. Her unborn child also died.

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