Mismatch between virtual oxygen help, ground reality in Okhla
If you are regular on Facebook and WhatsApp and reside in Okhla, you get a feeling that Covid patients and their relatives are facing no hardship due to setting up of helpline and claims by many, including some leaders and Muslim religious organisations, of helping people with oxygen, medicines and plasma.
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However, the ground reality is just the opposite. Many Okhla residents in look for oxygen have informed the OT over phone that they continue to struggle to get oxygen for their near and dear one. Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp are flooded with oxygen help SOS from desperate Okhla residents.
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This is not to say that activists and organisations are doing nothing. An activist pointed out the demand is high and supply low and nobody can do anything.
A resident, who has been looking for oxygen for his father after his O2 level hit 85, said he called on all the numbers available on the social media with little success. He said after religious organisation floated a Covid Task Force on Sunday, he immediately contacted them with details and 24 hours have passed by and we are yet to receive any call or guidance from them.
It was only in the night when help came in from Sudhar Trust who guided him to Sharique, he said. After small amount of O2 that could be refilled after great difficulties was over on Monday morning he said, adding that he is again looking for oxygen.
He said some activists were polite but one who has been very active on the social media was very rude to him. He said some claims that they are providing free oxygen to Covid patients should be probed by the OT. Also, your portal should do an investigative story about mushrooming helplines in Okhla as many are making tall claims on the digital world and doing little, he said.
A resident said the work which some helplines in Okhla are claiming of providing verified leads to patients and putting them in touch with providers are being done by many people in the area from their homes without any social media hype.
I am not saying they are doing nothing, he said, adding that their works should be appreciated but it should also be visible otherwise people will think it is nothing but just photo op or another move to raise fund.
Another Zakir Nagar resident said he too called many people from Okhla for oxygen after getting their numbers from social media and they all answered in negative.
An activist in the forefront of helping Covid patients said it has become very difficult to get oxygen and it finishes within minutes so it is near impossible to provide help to all.
Khedmat NGO shared this information with the OT virtually: “They take cylinder on SOS Emergency basis and we allot them for a few hours or at least 24 hours until they arrange for themselves and the cylinder can be used by somebody other and save his life. They take cylinders for more than one day and with no intention to return.”
Asif Md Khan, who set up a few oxygen beds in the open at Kalindi Kunj on Sunday, said people are taking cylinders and not returning thus hindering the progress of cylinder transfer to new patients.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also said there is shortage of oxygen in Delhi.
In a statement issued to the media on Sunday, the CM said: “Another issue Delhi faces is the shortage of oxygen. Our daily requirement of oxygen is 700 tonnes, and we receive 480 tonnes from the Central Government. Yesterday, the Central Government allotted 10 additional tonnes, increasing our share to 490 tonnes of oxygen. However, even this allotment is not reaching Delhi. Yesterday, only 330-335 tonnes of oxygen reached Delhi.
“As a result, we are receiving only half of what we require, which is a huge impediment in the recovery of Covid-positive patients. We are working continuously towards trying to ensure oxygen reaches where it is required.”
Kejriwal said: “I do not claim that all our efforts have reaped successful results. In some cases, we have failed, and in others, we have managed to ensure that oxygen reaches the designated destination. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who is involved in these nightlong efforts. Since our oxygen supply is limited, managing what we have is of utmost importance. Efficient management can help save lives.
“We have launched a portal where those involved in the supply of oxygen, from the manufacturer to the supplier and hospitals, have to give regular updates on their position, every two hours. The manufacturers will give updates on the status of the cylinders being produced, the supplier on where the trucks have reached, and hospitals on where their stock stands. This is to ensure that the Delhi government knows where shortage might be felt and is able to divert resources in that direction before time.”