Eleven newborn babies were killed by a fire that engulfed the neonatal section of a regional hospital in the western city of Tivaouan, Senegal, President Macky Sall has said.
“I have just learned with pain and consternation the death of 11 newborn babies in the fire that occurred in the neonatology department of the Mame Abdou Aziz Sy Dabakh hospital in Tivaouane,” President Sall said in a tweet on Wednesday without giving further details about the fire.
“To their mothers and their families, I express my deepest sympathy,” Sall, who is on a state visit in Angola, added.
The city’s mayor, Demba Diop Sy, however said “three babies were saved from the fire.”
Initial reports suggest the fire in the maternity department was caused by a short circuit.
“This situation is very unfortunate and extremely painful,” Health Minister Abdoulaye Diouf Sarr said.
Sarr, who is in Geneva for the World Health Assembly, said he would cut short the trip and return to Senegal immediately.
Last year, a similar incident occurred in the northern town of Linguère. Four newborn babies were killed there after a fire broke out at a hospital’s maternity ward.