As COVID-19 ravages India, exposing government incompetency and bringing the country’s healthcare system to a collapse, Sikh organizations have moved quickly to save lives.
Khalsa Aid launched a COVID helpline via a public WhatsApp number where anyone in Delhi can send a request for aid. They have received thousands of messages for help since its launch.
“Nearly a week ago, when we started our seva, most people were demanding oxygen cylinders. Then we learned of an oxygen leak incident in a Maharashtra hospital, where at least a dozen people died. There was also an issue of refilling oxygen cylinders. It was at that point we thought that we need to provide oxygen concentrators,” Amarpreet Singh, Director of Khalsa Aid Asia Pacific, shared with Baaz.
They have distributed 65 concentrators in the first phase, and have plans to distribute another 35 in the second phase.
“The biggest issue we are facing is that there is not enough supply of concentrators in India. Most of the concentrators are being imported,” Amarpreet Singh said.
“The next time we get a supply of concentrators we will also start work in Punjab,” he added.
Hemkunt Foundation, which has been active across Farmers’ Protest sites, has also come to the aid of COVID patients in Delhi. They have distributed oxygen cylinders from its headquarter in Gurgaon, including home delivery.
They receive thousands of distress calls every day, keeping up the demand as best as possible. While they are providing their service free of cost, they do require a security deposit of 10,000 rupees which is refunded on the return of the cylinder.
It is not easy to procure cylinders in Delhi, which is why Hemkunt Foundation arranges for them from neighbouring states. However, just yesterday, their truck carrying a fresh shipment from Rajasthan was seized by local police while patients were patiently waiting outside the organization’s headquarters for the delivery.