SRINAGAR — The second wave of COVID-19 has paralyzed the health infrastructure in India, with patients and their attendants crying loud for help. However, volunteers across the country have become active on social media platforms to help the patients in dire need of oxygen cylinders, beds and medicine.
These volunteers are active on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp to amplify the SOS messages and connect patients with NGOs, vendors and donors for relevant help.
Using #SOSJK (@jkcovid2021), these volunteers help patients primarily in J&K but are not restricted to the Union Territory only with oxygen, donors, testing, hospitalisation and other needful help.
One of the volunteers, Mohit Bhan, who was part of this initiative from its inception said that the idea stuck with few friends after he got a distress call from an attendant of a patient from Jammu and spread the SOS on social media which eventually got the desired help.
He said that the volunteers are helping COVID-19 patients whose attendants are raising SOS calls for oxygen, medicine, hospital beds for COVID-19, chemists and testing by amplifying and connecting them to relevant sources and then closing the calls once the needful is done.
“On the same day, I got a call from a needy attendant. I discussed it with few friends and they agreed to it till it expanded to a big group of volunteers,” he said.
Another volunteer, Ayushman, said they have helped hundreds of needy patients and will continue till this second wave abates.
Mohit further said, “More and more people, including doctors, lawyers, politicians, and civil society members are working with this initiative. How it works is simple enough. After our team verifies information, they post it on our Twitter and Facebook handles and then tag the likes of Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Shah Faesal, Shehla Rashid and others with a large following on social media to help amplify the requests. It helps us reach a larger base & audience.”
Social media is playing a crucial role in connecting critically ill people with the resources that aim to provide humanitarian aid to the poor and needy in this catastrophic pandemic, Mohit said.
Meanwhile, in view of the massive spurt in positive cases in J&K, authorities said on Wednesday that there will be a complete lockdown in 11 districts of the Union Territory from 7 p.m. on Thursday till 7 a.m. on Monday.
Separate orders issued, under the Disaster Management Act, by the District Magistrates of Srinagar, Budgam, Anantnag, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kulgam, Pulwama, Jammu, Kathua, Reasi, and Udhampur said there would be complete lockdown in these districts.
Only essential services will be allowed to move during the lockdown.