As India battles an acute oxygen emergency and hospitals put out SOS alerts on social media amid a massive spike in cases, changemakers and individuals on the ground are helping desperate and helpless families hit by the deadly virus.
One of them is a Gurgaon-based NGO Hemkunt Foundation that is ensuring immediate help to critical Covid patients by providing oxygen cylinders.
On Thursday, NDTV visited the site of their “oxygen cylinder drive” in Gurgaon.
Hundreds from the city and outside stood in the long meandering queue for oxygen cylinders. Those who could afford to pay, deposited a token money of Rs 10,000 – refundable upon returning the cylinder – and those who couldn’t were given the cylinders at no cost.
Today the NGO will provide oxygen from a newly-made makeshift drive-through space at their headquarters. This means any distressed Covid affected family, desperately looking of a bed with oxygen can come to the NGO’s headquarters as an immediate measure.
Speaking to NDTV, Harteerath Singh, Community Development Director at Hemkunt Foundation, says, “We have been working as an NGO for the last 10 years globally but this is the worst we have ever seen. There is an oxygen crisis. We see long queues outside our office even after we have run out of cylinders. We procure the cylinders from different states because it is difficult to get them in Delhi. We prioritise – we check the oxygen levels of the patient, verify it through documents or video calls.”
Commenting on the war over oxygen between states, Harteerath Singh says, “We cannot waste a single minute. You can play the blame game if you want to but we need to get on the ground and work. We can’t waste even a single minute now.”