Eight Covid-19 patients died at a Covid hospital in Chiplun town of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra on Thursday after floodwater entered the hospital. It is alleged that patients died due to a ventilator dysfunction, caused by the entry of flood waters. “Fifteen patients were admitted. Eight were on oxygen support, so they could not be moved to the first floor. The eight who lost their lives were admitted in the last 15 days and were aged 40-60,” said hospital director, Dr Yatin Jadhav.

The seven moved to the first floor survived. Six other patients were shifted to two government hospitals near Chiplun, the official said. The medical facility where the deceased Covid patients were admitted, Apranth Hospital, is managed by Chiplun Nagar Parishad. “Proper medical treatment could not be provided to Covid patients on the day of flooding. Almost 80 per cent of Chiplun is partially submerged in water,” Dr Phule, civil surgeon, Ratnagiri civil hospital told.

More than 50 per cent area of Chiplun, located around 250km from Mumbai and having a population of over 70,000, has submerged in flood waters. On Friday, 500 people were rescued in Chiplun and relief centres were sent to the coastal town. “The water level was 20-25 feet on Thursday. Since morning, hospital staff tried to call district disaster management officials, NDRF and local bodies for help,” added Dr Jadhav.

BN Patil, district collector of Ratnagiri, blamed illegal constructions near the Vashisthi river bed and discharge of water from the Kolkewadi dam for the havoc in the coastal town. “There have been some illegal constructions near the river bed, which have added to our misery. The dam water (from Kolakewadi), extremely heavy rainfall and illegal constructions in the river bed – all have contributed to the current situation. It is partially a man-made disaster,” he said. “Once flood waters recede, I will look into the issue of illegal constructions near the river bed,” Patil said.