6 December 2015

India officials investigate negligence after 18 patients die

A patient is shifted to an ambulance after the hospital she was being treated in had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.
Indian authorities were investigating possible negligence after 18 hospital patients died when rainwaters from massive floods in southern Tamil Nadu state knocked out generators and switched off ventilators.
The patients were in the intensive care unit at MIOT International hospital in the state capital of Chennai when floodwaters seeped into the room with the generators, cutting off power to the building and the ventilators earlier this week, state Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan said Saturday.

The worst flooding in a century in Tamil Nadu has left more than 280 people dead since November. In the latest deluge this week, authorities turned off power in some areas to prevent electrocutions that were blamed for several deaths.
Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
National Disaster Response Force personnel carry an elderly woman and a dog rescued from floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.

Army soldiers using boats have rescued thousands of residents marooned in high-rise buildings and launched massive relief operations to provide food and medicine.
"We feel quite helpless," said Malti Soman, standing in knee-deep water in Mambalam, a residential area in central Chennai. "The landline phones are not working. And my cellphone is dead because there is no electricity to charge it."
Radhakrishnan, the health secretary, said that while the immediate rescue operations were tapering off, the main focus in the coming days will be to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.
In many areas, sewage drains have overflowed, posing a health hazard for residents who have had to wade through the water, Radhakrishnan said.
"This is a concern," he said. "We are working with the local water and sewage agencies to disinfect the worst-hit areas."
Sanitation workers have begun spraying insecticide in many places to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue due to the stagnant water collected in large parts of the city.
Chennai's airport was closed for a fourth day Saturday, although some flights operated from a nearby air force base.
Patients wait to be shifted out after the hospital they were being treated in had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.

Railway services resumed partially, with a few trains running from Chennai's main train station. 
India's main monsoon season runs from June through September, but for Chennai and the rest of the southeastern coast, the heaviest rainfall is from October to December, also called the retreating monsoon. Experts say the heavy rainfall was linked to the El Nino weather pattern, when the waters of the Pacific Ocean get warmer than usual. 
(AP) 
Flood affected people receive food packets being distributed by navy personnel in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.
Flood affected people receive food packets being distributed by navy personnel in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.  
In this photo provided by the Press Trust of India, a woman who lost a relative in the floods cries as she speaks on the phone at a hospital in Chennai, India, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.
In this photo provided by the Press Trust of India, a woman who lost a relative in the floods cries as she speaks on the phone at a hospital in Chennai, India, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.  
Flood-affected people stretch out their hands to receive packets of biscuits being distributed in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.
Flood-affected people stretch out their hands to receive packets of biscuits being distributed in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.  
A Coastguard chopper airlifts a sailor after he delivered food material to a residential area flooded due to heavy rainfall in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.
A Coastguard chopper airlifts a sailor after he delivered food material to a residential area flooded due to heavy rainfall in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.  
A woman cries after seeing the corpse of her son floating in the Adyar River after he was washed away by floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.
A woman cries after seeing the corpse of her son floating in the Adyar River after he was washed away by floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 4, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed the state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.  
National Disaster Response Force personnel carry an elderly sick man from a residential area flooded due to heavy rainfall in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 04, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed southern India's Tamil Nadu state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.
National Disaster Response Force personnel carry an elderly sick man from a residential area flooded due to heavy rainfall in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, Friday, Dec. 04, 2015. The relentless rains that lashed southern India's Tamil Nadu state for three days eased Friday, but the misery of tens of thousands of people was far from over, with large parts of the main city still underwater along with the region's biggest airport.  
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, a patient is shifted to an ambulance after the hospital she was being treated in had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, a patient is shifted to an ambulance after the hospital she was being treated in had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.  
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, a patient prepares to leave a hospital that had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, a patient prepares to leave a hospital that had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.  
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, patients wait to be shifted out after the hospital they were being treated in had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, patients wait to be shifted out after the hospital they were being treated in had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.  
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, relatives of patients stand outside a hospital that had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, relatives of patients stand outside a hospital that had to be shut down because of power failure and being inundated with floodwaters in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in the intensive care unit of this hospital died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.  
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital is seen flooded and abandoned in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in this intensive care unit died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.
In this Friday, Dec. 4, 2015 photo, the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital is seen flooded and abandoned in Chennai, in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Officials say 18 patients who were in this intensive care unit died when a power outage affected ventilators in the hospital, after rain waters knocked out generators of the building.  
An Indian army soldier distributes relief material to flood affected people in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
An Indian army soldier distributes relief material to flood affected people in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
A coastguard sailor surveys an area inundated by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
A coastguard sailor surveys an area inundated by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
A residential area is seen surrounded by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
A residential area is seen surrounded by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
Residential areas are seen inundated by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
Residential areas are seen inundated by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
Flood-affected people look at a coastguard chopper in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
Flood-affected people look at a coastguard chopper in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
A coast guard chopper surveys a residential area inundated by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
A coast guard chopper surveys a residential area inundated by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
Floodwaters inundate an area in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
Floodwaters inundate an area in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
An aircraft stands over a fence at the airport in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
An aircraft stands over a fence at the airport in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
A coastguard chopper drops relief material to flood-affected residents in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
A coastguard chopper drops relief material to flood-affected residents in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.  
Residential areas are seen surrounded by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps.
Residential areas are seen surrounded by floodwaters in Chennai, India, Saturday, Dec. 5, 2015. Although floodwaters have begun to recede, vast swaths of Chennai and neighboring districts were still under 2 1/2 to 3 meters (8 to 10 feet) of water, with tens of thousands of people in state-run relief camps. 

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