Hospitals are not on state govt’s rescue priority list

  • Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Sep 15, 2014 10:11 IST

As the flood hit Srinagar last Sunday, hospitals were among the worst-affected places. And the failure of the government to prioritise rescue in hospitals has led to many deaths in the valley’s most congested hospitals, including Lal Ded Hospital, GB Pant children’s hospital, and SMHS Hospital and Government Medical College.

Reports suggest that at least 50 people, including 16 children, died in government hospitals of Srinagar.

This was confirmed by GMC principal Dr Rafiq Pampori while speaking to Hindutsan Times on Thursday: “None of our hospitals has seen any massive rescue effort by the government. Non-governmental organisations like Athroot are helping us,” he said.

“A lot could have been done but was not. I can’t give you an exact number of deaths, but a lot of damage was done on the day water came into the hospitals,” he added.

He was straightforward that the reports that there were many deaths in the hospitals are true. “At SMHS Hospital, there were a number of deaths in front of our eyes. The oxygen plant went down, ventilators stopped as electricity went down. So those patients died,” Pampori added.

“It’s unfortunate that hospitals were not a priority during rescue operations.”

It was a herculean task for Dr Pampori, too, to save his students stranded in the floods.

While the boys’ hostel in Bemina was beyond reach for the principal even after four days of floods, he along with a few resident doctors managed to get over 200 girls out.

“Our doctors had gone to Sonamarg to get some rafting boats, but those were already taken by the government. Our male students and faculty with their families are still stranded in Bemina,” he had told Ht on Thursday. Meanwhile, the girl students have their own story to tell.

“For three days we were surviving on whatever was left in the hostel. On Wednesday, some of our seniors came with a boat,” said Sakshi Sharma, one of the young women rescued.

She added, “The boat could accommodate only seven girls, and the rest of us climbed the hostel walls as water had receded a bit. We went from one wall to another till we reached Nawab Bazar a few kilometres away.” The women, mostly from Jammu and Ladakh, were given shelter by the locals till they were shifted to another area, Elahi Bagh, by their principal.

“Even here we have been hosted by residents of the area. Three to four girls in each house,” added Sakshi.

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