Now India has really been hit! While the Covid-19 pandemic seemed to have India more or less under control until March 2021 and the population suffered more due to the restrictions of the lockdown, the extent of the Corona crisis is hard to grasp at the moment.
The viruses – now cross mutants – are spreading uncontrollably throughout the country. Infection is virtually inevitable due to the dense population, poor hygiene conditions and disregard for infection control rules.
The Indian health system was and is not even close to coping with this wave.
You know about the situation in India from the media, probably better than I do: overcrowded hospitals, not nearly enough medical equipment, overburdened doctors, dying patients.
These images from the media are true. Anyone who says otherwise is blind to reality and wasting valuable energy trying to help!
Only 3 weeks ago, when the pandemic here in Himachal Pradesh still seemed harmless, I visited a state hospital. Even without Corona, the situation in Indian government hospitals is very critical: hardly any hygiene standards, overworked doctors, too many patients. Mind you, this is the situation every day, even without a pandemic!
Those who can afford it go to a private hospital. But here in Himachal, private hospitals do not accept Corona patients!
With a population of over 1.2 billion people, it is simply not surprising that behind the percentage of Corona severely ill is simply an enormous number of people.
Of course, we “healthy” or “corona-sufferers” in India do not notice much of this ourselves. Under strict curfews or quarantines, we sit at home. We only venture near a hospital in case of emergency, because the rush in the hospitals is well known and a new Corona infection in the hospital itself is almost unavoidable.
So how does the crisis affect us who are not directly affected?
- With constant requests from friends, relatives and acquaintances for oxygen, hospital beds, blood and plasma donations on social media.
- With a high number of people we know who have since died or lost family members to Corona.
- With living in an environment of people testing positive for Corona
- With fear that weak and elderly family members and friends may become infected
- With fear of financial hardship in the weeks-long lockdown with no support from the government
- With lack of education for the children for over a year now
Could the crisis in India have been circumvented?
Maybe. Maybe not.
It is true that social distance was not taken seriously by many in India. Large gatherings in the form of weddings, religious festivals and election campaigns have taken place. While all over the world people only greet each other with “Namaste” (hands together in front of the heart), Indians are busy shaking hands. A strict lockdown was avoided until almost the end after the harsh curfew in April and May 2020.
When I raised this with amazement before a friend, he only said, “People would rather die perhaps of Corona than certainly because of poverty.” The low daily income for most Indians is often just enough to feed the family.
But then there are also simply the conditions in India, which can only change in the long term: Lack of hygiene and living in cramped conditions, for example. Often 5 to 6 family members live in just one room. Infection is unavoidable – if one family member gets Corona, the other members are also affected. Isolation is not possible.
By the way, India is now systematically vaccinating its inhabitants. At the moment, the over-45s and all those working in the health sector are being vaccinated. But of course this procedure also takes a lot of time.
What can we do to help?
But it is less important to talk about what should have been done than about what we can do together to support India in this crisis.
So Germany immediately sent 120 ventilators and 13 paramedics to India! Here is an interview with the German ambassador:
Many of you have contacted me personally to ask what can be done. A very big thank you for that.
I have gathered information that I would like to share with you.
The organisations and people I work with in India are unfortunately also facing great challenges in getting the necessary medical equipment:
- Oxygen concentrators (8-10 L)
- Pulse oximeter
- Blood pressure monitor (digital)
- Ventilation support
- Simple O2 mask
- Non-rebreathing masks
- Nasal cannula ( single )
- High flow nasal cannula
- Positive pressure ventilation
- BIPAP devices
Here I have some suggestions:
- If you know of a safe and quick way to send this equipment directly to India, contact me. We are in contact with doctors in Shimla through the Human Hope Foundation and are forwarding the equipment directly.
- On this link you will find some fundraising campaigns where you can donate directly for the procurement of necessary medical equipment
- Donate to UNICEF, here you will also get a receipt for your donation.
- Jogi and the team from Himalayan Trails in Manali have received 30 oxygen cylinders from trekking agencies. The team fills the cylinders and distributes them to patients in need. For the refilling of the cylinders (approx. 7 Euro every 4 days), donations can be made directly through me (please contact me).
- With the NGO CHETNA, we provide medical care for children in Delhi’s slum areas who are suffering from Corona (approx. 150 Euros per child). You can also get in touch with me here.
Apart from the necessary medical care, people are also suffering hardship due to the lockdown of several weeks. We provide people in need in rural Rajasthan, the slums in Delhi and the working class in Shimla with food and hygiene articles.
We also provide financial support to families in Shimla where the main breadwinner or family members have fallen ill with Corona. The costs of the illness have used up all the families’ savings and a necessary income is just impossible.
Please contact me if you would like to help at this point.
All donations through me will go 1 to 1 to the people in need. Unfortunately, I cannot issue a donation receipt.
Donations can be made directly via bank transfer with subject “Corona India” or via Paypal: info(at)chalo-travels.com
Thank you for your interest, cohesion and continued support!
Direct words from the Human Hope Fondation in Shimla:
First of all thanks for the support you provided last year which helped many families to survive during lockdown and also helped them give proper nutrition to their children.India is currently devastated with the 2nd wave of the covid virus. The crisis the covid virus has created this year is manifold as compared to the previous year.
It’s having a distratous effect on children be it their education or nutrition.
With schools being closed and only online classes being conducted the cost of education has increased quite substantially. This is primarily due to the cost of a mobile phone (smart phone) and subsequent cost of internet. The average cost of internet for a child is Rs.300/- per month and with a family having on an average 3 children the cost comes out to be Rs900-1000 per month, which is beyond the means of the families. This is leading to children dropping out of school.Also with daily increasing covid cases families are now avoiding hiring labour, house helps and this is leading to decline in their income which in turn forces them to cut down on the nutritious part of the diet like milk, eggs,fruits etc and rely on staple food only.This is leading to malnutrition esp. among the children.At this hour we need all the support we can get to help children get proper education and nutrition.
If you could provide us some support we all shall be grateful to you
The 2nd wave of Covid virus has had a catastrophic effect in India. We have descended into tragedy of unprecedented proportions. Our health care system has almost collapsed and scores of people are dying just because of shortage of as basic a thing as Oxygen. There is acute shortage of devices be it oxygen concentrator or CPAP/BIPAP machines or pulse oximeters etc. etc.Shimla being a small city does not have even a single private hospital treating covid patients. People are dependent on the already overburdened government hospitals. The hospitals are already full with covid patients. The expansion in capacity for treating covid patients would require more devices which are already in short supply. As per the experts the peak is yet to come.In my recent discussions with medical professionals I have been able to compile a list of devices needed by covid +ve patients. These ar as follows:
- Oxygen concentrators (8-10 L)
- Pulse oximeters
- BP machine ( digital )
- Ventilatory support
- Simple O2 mask
- Non rebreathable masks
- Nasal cannula ( simple )
- High flow nasal cannula
- Positive pressure ventilation
- BIPAP equipment
We are in urgent need of devices. Your help in procurement of these would go a long way in saving lives.
We are looking forward to your help.
Direct words from the NGO Chetna in Delhi:
COVID- Emegrency relief Support
Daily wage workers and their children in Delhi suffered in the lockdown – and continue to struggle months later
While the country is going through the second wave of COVID-19, Delhi is reeling under the fourth wave of the pandemic, with cases escalating at an unprecedented rate.
Street children facing difficult time during lockdown
Children who live on the streets of the city ordinarily have a tough time, but after the coronavirus epidemic and lockdown, their lives have become tougher. Shops and eateries are closed, so if they are waste pickers there is no money to be earned. Their parents too have lost their jobs
A boy who lives on the street says, “Sometimes people come and distribute food. I have no idea who they are, but it’s very little. We only get to eat once in two-three days.” Because of the lockdown, he says, they are not even allowed to go fetch water or firewood. “I don’t know how we can survive like this? The people must help us,” he pleads
In these circumstances, children still face difficulties in getting food and safe drinking water. Most importantly, they are afraid that they might get infected with the coronavirus as they dont have basic equipment(mask, sanitizer, soap) to protect themselves from corona infection. They are still dependent on relief efforts by NGOs.
Children lack basic amenities like soap, sanitizers, and masks which is the most essential need at this hour to protect themselves from the deadly virus. They do not have enough resources to continue their studies, as online learning is unattainable for them. Confined to the four walls, children are facing impact on their mental and physical well-being as they are unable to go out and perform their work. They do not have any means of playing and doing any recreational activities. They rely on the food that is being distributed free by the Government or by the individuals.
Earlier also we were able to distribute emergency relief support-ration, health hygiene kit, blankets etc. to these children with the help of Sarah and her supporter.
We also appeal for your support this time also so that we can distribute ration to the people and children, means of managing menstruation, basic health and hygiene kits etc. at this time.
Aim to support around 1000 families which include children and adult members as well. We are assuming each child has 5-6 members in the family (for the items like rations, and each stationary/hygiene kit supports 2 children in the family).
Dry Ration – People have exhauseted all their saved food grains and now nothing in their hands to eat.
- Distribution of dry food/ration items at least for two weeks looking into the requirements of the community.
Health and Hygience kit -These children do not have any PPE material to protect against Corona and Corona infection is at its peak in the country and it is very risky to live without any safety.
- Informing all the family members about the Corona prevention measures as well as providing basic PPR items so that they can avoid this deadly virus infection.
Sanitary napkins-The girls are facing an acute fund crunch to buy sanitary napkins coupled with unhygienic, crowded toilets in their tenements.
- We will be providing them a big pack of sanitary napkins for atleast for three months to managem their mentrustion effectively and hygienically.
|S. no.||Issue||Unit cost||Unit Number||Total||Notes|
|1||Dry Ration||650||1000||A ration pack can be used for five to six people per family and it will help them in ration for ten to twelve days. A pack will have two types of lentils, rice, flour, cooking oil, spices, salt, sugar,tea, etc.|
|2||Health and Hygience Kit||400||1000||400000||Under this, children will be given a pack of masks, a bottle of sanitizer, etc. for about three months of use so that if a mask is wet and dirty, they will have more masks which can be used and as well as they keep refilling the sanitizer.|
|3||Sanitary Napkins||200*3||400||240000||The girls will be given packets of sanitary napkins for about three months use so that they can manage the menstrual period comfortably for the next three months.|
|PPE kit for team members||600||15||9000||The team members who distribute the material on the field will be given basic PPE kit in which Hazmat Suit, gloves, face shield, sanitizer etc. will be provided so that they can protect themselves from corona infection.|