Hospitals in Kashmir Struggle After Flooding, Deepening a Health Crisis

SRINAGAR, Kashmir — When the floodwaters of the Jhelum River rushed over the gates of the G. B. Pant Hospital, the top pediatric hospital here, on Sept. 6, the lights were the first to go. Half an hour later, the generators on the ground floor were drowned in water. Minutes after that, the oxygen tank that supplied air to the ventilators for newborns shut down.

Six infants died within 24 hours, said Nisar Ahmed Dar, 26, an orderly at the hospital who handed the children’s bodies, wrapped in blankets, to army rescuers through the second-story window. He then handed them 10 more newborns whose skin had turned blue from lack of oxygen. At least five of them later died.

“It was horrible,” Mr. Dar said. “I was handing down dead babies. I was thinking that if help didn’t come soon, I’d be handing down more.”

Nearly two weeks later, the hospital was a shell of what it had been — white sheets that had been tied together for trapped doctors and family members to escape still hung from the second-story window. Equipment has been irretrievably damaged, and more than half of the staff members are gone — some scattered to their hometowns to assess the damage there — and cellphone service in the Kashmir Valley is still so bad that it was difficult to reach them…read it at The New York Times.

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