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COVID Carnage: Indian district stuffs van with 22 bodies amid ambulance shortage


MAHARASHTRA: The bodies of 22 Covid victims in an Indian town were stuffed in one ambulance while it carried them to the crematorium in Maharashtra’s Beed district, reported the local media.

The incident triggered outcry amongst the public prompting the Beed district administration to rush to the scene and investigate the matter.

The incident had originally occurred on Sunday when the bodies, kept in the hospital morgue at Ambajogai in Beed, were being transported for their last rites.

Following the outrage, the district administration cited lack of medical transport vehicles as the reason for it.

‘Not enough ambulances’

“This happened because the hospital administration does not have enough ambulances,” the medical college’s Dean, Dr Shivaji Sukre, told.

He said they had five ambulances during the first wave of COVID-19 last year. Out of them, three were later withdrawn and the hospital was now managing the transportation of COVID-19 patients in two ambulances.

“We have demanded more ambulances. Our responsibility is to hand over bodies to the Ambajogai civic body to perform the last rites. What the civic body does is not in our control,” Dr Sukre said.

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“To avoid the chaos, we have also written to the Ambajogai Municipal Council to conduct the last rites of the victims between 8 am and 10 pm and the bodies will be sent to the crematoriums from the hospital ward itself,” he said.

Kin of victims allege cops snatched away phones

The families of the victims claim the police snatched away phones of kin of two victims who were taking photos of the bodies being stuffed into one van, an eyewitness to the incident told the local media.

Their phones were returned only after the last rites were performed.

“Sometimes, it takes time to trace the relatives of a dead patient. The bodies from the COVID-19 centre at Lokhandi Sawargaon village are also sent to our facility as they don’t have a cold storage,” the official said.

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