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As Tricity’s struggle against Covid intensifies: Citizens come to the fore, provide Covid aid to ease crisis

Tricity’s charitable organisations and volunteers have gone the extra mile to extend help and hope to those affected with Covid-19. They have been providing relief that range from free oxygen cylinders to dry ration. The Indian Express connects with these citizen initiatives

Written by Varun Das | Chandigarh |
May 24, 2021 4:08:03 am
A volunteer distributes face masks at a colony in Chandigarh. (Express photo)

Tricity’s charitable organisations and volunteers have gone the extra mile to extend help and hope to those affected with Covid-19. They have been providing relief that range from free oxygen cylinders to dry ration. VARUN DAS connects with these citizen initiatives

Serve Humanity Serve God Charitable Trust

Swaranjit Singh

In the wake of acute shortage of liquid oxygen, a city-based non-profitable charitable trust, Serve Humanity Serve God has risen to the occasion by providing citizens with free oxygen services. The trust has set up a service in New Chandigarh, providing the life-saving gas to Covid-19 patients for free.

Swaranjit Singh, the founder of the trust, shares, “In view of the skyrocketing demands of oxygen cylinders, we initiated a free oxygen service for Covid-affected people a week back. Currently, we are catering to around 30 people a day and soon we will step up the supply, to help save more lives.” The service is available around-the-clock and anyone can avail an oxygen cylinder for free without having to deposit any security amount. “The volunteers of the trust will drop the oxygen cylinders right at their doorstep. There are no charges for delivery either. With the increasing number of calls for oxygen cylinders, the financial burden of procuring more cylinders is mounting on us. We are optimistic that we will soon be able to meet oxygen demands,” says Singh.

Contact: 9814119214

Volunteers of Serve Humanity Serve God at the trust’s free oxygen service facility in New Chandigarh. (Express photo)

Tricity Fights Covid

Chaitanya Suri, Kartik Suri and Bhanu Jindal

The ‘Tricity fights Covid’ initiative started as a combined effort of two brothers Chaitanya Suri, a final-year law student at

NMIMS, Mumbai, and Kartik Suri, a Class XI student at St John’s School, with an aim to set up a platform for providing verified information to the public regarding Covid necessities like food and oxygen, among others. The duo realised that there was no consolidated source of verified information available. Social media users had been posting independent messages on their handles. “Initially an Instagram page was created ( @tricityfightscovid ) but then it dawned on us that a lot of senior citizens could not avail the information as they were not on Instagram, the website http://www.tricitygfightscovid.jimdosite.com was set up,” shares Chaitanya. Within a few days, over 50 volunteers joined the WhatsApp group. They have been active in connecting patients to hospitals not only in the Tricity, but also in surrounding areas like Ambala, Yamunanagar, and even New Delhi.

“Whether it is oxygen or medicine, we have been trying to identify a verified source through personal calling. Not only did we provide information, but we have also assisted in ventilator and ICU beds for critically-ill patients. The teams call up each hospital in the Tricity several times a day to identify the availability of beds. We have helped arrange oxygen cylinders, oxygen valves, among other resources. Besides, we also find volunteers for plasma donation, tying up with blood banks. The volunteers deliver medicine to the patients in case a patient is unable to collect it on his own. The team has also launched a unique campaign aimed at warning the Covid-affected citizens of unscrupulous volunteers. There are fraudsters who pose as good samaritans and make away with one’s money.”

Through crowd-sourcing, in association with SJOBA ( St John’s Old Boys Association), the group has donated over 10 multipara monitors to the Sector 16 General Hospital and two to the General Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula. At least 35 nebulizers sourced from Delhi were handed over on May 15, and on an average, we assist about 6-10 critical patients in finding beds at hospitals. “We assist in the search for available beds, and then ask the attendant to directly talk to the hospital where there is availability. It saves vital time, which may save a life. A consolidated dashboard of information in real time basis would go a long way in saving lives, ” sums up Suri.

Contact: 9004332082 or tricityfightscovid@gmail.com,

Experts Answer

Punjab State Red Cross, SIPHER

On the suggestion of Avinash Rai Khanna, Vice Chairperson, Indian Red Cross, the Punjab State Red Cross has started a tele-helpline, in collaboration with the Strategic Institute for Public Health Education and Research (SIPHER), to provide counselling and guidance to Covid-19 patients in home isolation. Initially, a panel of three doctors was constituted. At present, the three panelists are serving as coordinators for the helpline, while a team of 24 highly-experienced medical experts, including senior PCMS officers and other experts from across India and abroad, have joined as panelists to provide free teleconsultation.

C S Talwar, Secretary of Punjab Red Cross, shares, “Their contact details are shared on the Red Cross/SIPHER website and social media, so that Covid-19 patients can receive consultation during the day. The patients and their relatives are encouraged to drop WhatsApp messages regarding the symptoms, treatment and queries. The doctors revert with their suggestions. It is followed by telephonic calls by the patient, if required. A webinar, ‘What to do when you or your family is suspected of COVID,’ with an eminent set of subject experts including a pulmonologist, pediatrician, public health specialist, and a dietician was also held to clarify various issues.”

In these times, when Covid-related myths are being peddled, adds Dr Rakesh Gupta, SIPHER, especially through the social media, the Red Cross Helpline has been playing an important role in busting these myths, and thus saving the lives of Covid-19 patients by counselling and guidance as per the Standard Operating Procedure prepared by experts. If there is a suspicion of progression, the patient is advised admission to a Covid facility.

Contact: 98728-47084, 79735-07159, 9646878394

Milaap

Harjot Singh

“People living in resettlement colonies have been hit hard by Covid-19 pandemic. They are severely affected due to lockdowns and illness that have led to the loss of livelihoods and expenditure on medical treatment. The resettlement colony that we work in has about 25,000 residents with most being unskilled daily wagers,” reflects Harjot Singh, an engineer by profession, talking about the effort Milaap. Last time, when the lockdown was imposed, he adds, many daily wagers travelled back home, taking the infection home with them. “So, we took it upon ourselves to make sure that it does not happen again. The only way to preclude that, we felt, would be to meet all their needs at home.” A fundraiser set up by Singh and his fellow volunteers garnered donations to the tune of over Rs 9.5 lakh in the past two weeks alone. “Initially, we had been providing cooked food. But then, that was logistically very difficult. We have now taken to providing them with dry ration, so that they can cook at home. So, they no longer need to step out of the house to purchase ration. We have also been providing them with basic necessities like soap, oil and toothpaste, among other things,” says Singh. There are about 200 Covid-19 patients at the moment who are isolated at home. With the help of some locals, Milaap is striving to provide meals and medications to those home isolated. The organisation has been extending help for some weeks now, but with most resources drained, it is becoming too much to be afforded by a small group. “A generous donation of Rs 5,000 will result in approximately 200 meals being served to the needy. In the past two weeks alone, we have served more than 30,000 meals. We hope for continued assistance from well-meaning individuals who would like to help their fellow humans in times of distress.

Let us donate so that the infected can stay home and prevent the spread of infection,” Singh says.

Fundraiser: https://milaap.org/ fundraisers/support-people-of-resttlement-colonies/

16-year-old Garv Singh Khurana on his way to deliver an oxygen concentrator to a Covid-19 patient. (Express photo)

Humanity Has Hope

Aanya Malik

The Humanity Has Hope Foundation (HHH) is an initiative started by a group of youngsters, with the aim to help bring about a positive change in the areas faced with social issues. “The initiative was started around two months back, when Covid-19 cases reached a peak. Although all of us had already been involved with other social projects too. The core team includes Vaanya Gilhotra, Sanya Singal, Ishan Sindwani and Tara Khanna,” shares 17-year-old Aanya Malik, Head Of Operations, HHH.

Currently, the foundation is running a volunteer helpline service, which helps in finding Covid-19 resources. “Over the past month, HHH Foundation could help procure countless oxygen cylinders, beds, ventilators and numerous other resources for those by affected by Covid-19. At present, we have a team of 50 volunteers, who have been helping others search for medical resources. The organisation will be functioning even once the Covid-19 pandemic blows over as we believe there are many other social issues too that needs to be dealt with.”

Contact: 98728-47084, 79735-07159, 9646878394 or DM on Instagram @humanityhashope_

OxygenAid

Garv Singh Khurana

With oxygen shortage a reality in many parts of the nation, 16-year-old Garv Singh Khurana, a resident of Chandigarh, took it upon himself to arrange oxygen concentrators for those in urgent need. “We set up a fundraiser over 10 days back,” shares Garv, who is behind the OxygenAid initiative. As many as 11 oxygen concentrators have been procured and the goal is of getting 100 concentrators. “I go and drop the concentrators at home for Covid-19 patients as they cannot step out.” On being asked what encouraged him to take up the initiative, Garv says, “This past month, I have been inundated with stories of Covid-19 patients gasping for oxygen. So, I started OxygenAid, to raise money and lend oxygen concentrators for those who cannot afford one. We all need help and we need it now.”

Contact: 7341191183, 9910417197 and 9811198762

Fundraiser: https://www.ketto. org/fundraiser/contribute-for-oxygen-concentrators-and-help-save-lives; Website: http://www.oxygenaid.org

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