From NGOs to social media influencers – these good samaritans have been working day and night to fight the Covid crisis in the Capital city
“We are not giving or refilling oxygen cylinders. We are asking people to come here at the Indirapuram Gurudwara along with the patient in their car and we will provide oxygen to them. Be it two, four or eight hours,we will provide oxygen till the time the patient is not getting a bed in the hospital,” says Gurupreet Singh, President of Indirapuram Gurudwara, in a viral video.
The demand for oxygen is soaring up with each passing day in the capital city, due to its shortage in the hospitals. But, these good samaritans like Singh, are making sure people do not die of oxygen shortage.
The Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara along with an NGO, Khalsa Help International, in Ghaziabad’s Indirapuram is organising “Oxygen Langar”. Many patients are reportedly coming to the said location in cars, and they are being supplied oxygen till bed is arranged for them.
The Sikh volunteers said they have also launched a helpline number — 9097041313 — for the people to call and book oxygen cylinders, which is being shared across social media. “Till now we’ve been able to save more than 200 lives,” a volunteer told NDTV. Patriot contacted them on their helpline number, they told us, “anyone can bring a patient in the car, they will be given oxygen, till the patient’s relative arranges bed.”
Many hospitals are struggling due to oxygen shortage. At least 20 Covid patients in the critical care unit of Jaipur Golden Hospital in northwest Delhi died on April 23 due to dip in oxygen pressure. A day before, 25 critical patients died in Sir Gangaram Hospital due to the same reason.
Gurugram based NGO Hemkunt Foundation is also ensuring oxygen cylinders to critical patients. By depositing a refundable Rs 10,000, one can get an oxygen cylinder. Patients can get home delivery too, for that they will be asked for an Aadhar Card, photo of the patient, pictures of his/her latest oxygen level. To avoid stocking, they allow one cylinder per patient only.
With their #O2ForYou Drive Thru, the 24*7 service of Hemkunt Foundation is ensuring that volunteers are working round the clock to provide unlimited oxygen to patients in need and help save lives.
Another organisation, Khalsa Aid India is providing free oxygen concentrators to Covid-19 patients. They have issued a WhatsApp helpline number: 9115609005 on April 23. One can request the Oxygen concentrator on this number.
An office bearer from the organisation said, “after submitting, doctor’s prescription, name, address, Covid positive date, picture of oximeter reading, one can order oxygen concentrator. We give preference to critical patients.”
NGO Canwinn Foundation is organising Plasma donation drives with pick up and drop facilities for plasma donors in Gurgaon. Along with this they have also been providing free Covid tests in different centres across the city on a weekly basis. Busy with their initiatives they are looking forward to helping out with more Covid tests in the approaching days, shares a spokesperson.
Social Media Influencers and celebrities
Indian celebrities are often criticised for not speaking up or helping out during crises. However, during Covid crisis some celebrities came to the forefront and helped people cope with this crisis. This time around when India is reeling under severe second wave of Covid- 19, some celebrities, social media influencers are helping people arranging beds, oxygen, medicines and a few others who couldn’t help that way, are applifying SOS calls on their social media platform.
Actor Gurmeet Choudhary and his team have been helping people arrange beds, plasma, ICU facilities across cities. In a tweet he wrote, “I have decided I will be opening ultramodern 1000 bed hospital in Patna and Lucknow for the common man. Followed by other cities. Need your blessings and support. Jai Hind. Details will be shared soon.”
Choudhry considered Sonu Sood, another actor who became a people’s hero through his social service during Covid-19 lockdown. Actress Bhumi Pednekar, Sushmita Sen and others are also raising SOS calls through social media.
Apart from these, social media users have also stepped in to provide help in its own way. From providing updated consolidated lists of oxygen, hospital beds, tests to connecting people with verified sources, social media is playing a huge role in aiding those looking for urgent help. Many volunteer groups are helping to crowdfund for oxygen concentrator, arranging food for Covid patients and even verifying information shared.
For instance, Instagram account Plasma Donors Delhi is constantly uploading verified numbers of both oxygen and plasma donors in the city. With over 13,000 followers, they are trying to provide updated sources of donors every day.
Several other Instagram accounts who otherwise post different content have now dedicatedly taken up the cause for providing help for Covid patients. Accounts like Diary of Jamian have created highlights in their accounts for Covid resources which includes beds, medicines and oxygen.
Influencers like Kusha Kapila, Anchal Agrawal, stand up comedians like Amit Tandon, Varun Grover, are applifying verified information to help people in need.
Not just that, citizens are increasingly helping each other. Some are helping to deliver medicine, oxygen and other basic necessities, while some are helping in arranging food.
Politicians on duty
Congress youth congress president Srinivas BV and his team is constantly working by arranging plasma, oxygen and as basic as arranging bed, which has become a privilege in this time. They are collecting the patient’s Covid-19 report, doctor’s prescription and Aadhaar card and then reaching out to the nodal distribution officer to deliver highly demanded medicines like Remdesivir, which have been in short-supply since the last few weeks. He told The Quint, that they are receiving 300-400 calls on a daily basis.
Similarly, AAP MLA Dilip Pandey has been responding to SOS calls in Delhi and helping people out. His Twitter timeline is full of such requests. Meanwhile, he himself contracted Covid-19 and got quarantined. BJP politician Charu Pragya, and Tajindra Pal Singh Bagga are helping people to get tested, oxygen, beds plasma, among others. Those in dire need of these are tagging them on Twitter, and it’s because of these people that many lives have been saved amid a pandemic of such proportions.
(With inputs from Proma Chakraborty)
(Cover: Sukhvinder Singh, 39, a volunteer of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management committee (DSGMC) delivers langar (food) to a person affected with Covid-19, who is under home isolation amidst the rising Coronavirus cases, in New Delhi, India on April 24, 2021 // Photo: Getty Images)