Parents of at least 35 children who have died in a hospital in northern India over the past three days have alleged there was a lack of oxygen supply in the children’s ward.

District Magistrate Rajiv Rautela denied that the lack of oxygen had caused the deaths, saying the children died of natural causes in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh state.

Parents said oxygen supply to the ward ran out Thursday night and patients’ families were given self-inflating bags to help the children breathe.

Rautela said Saturday that the hospital owed 6.8 million rupees ($106,000) to the company that supplies the oxygen.

Some of the children had been treated for encephalitis, a disease which preys on the young and malnourished and is rampant in the state during the monsoon.

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