The raging second wave of COVID-19 that has hit India can no longer be seen as a wave, it has become a tsunami. With lakhs of daily new cases and a deadly upsurge in innumerable deaths, both reported and unreported, it is clear that the country will take some time before things can return to normal.
Amidst the heart-wrenching reports of people being turned away from hospitals, patients running out of oxygen and crematoriums being inundated with bodies, it is the thousands of volunteers who have verified leads for hospital beds, arranged for oxygen cylinders and ferried resources who have been a beacon of hope. If you’re at home and are wondering how you can contribute to the relief efforts, here are some suggestions to consider:
The need of the hour is money, not just for COVID-19 patients and relief efforts but also for marginalised communities who have been affected by the lockdown. It’s the start of the month so if you have money to spare you can pick where you’d like to contribute to — individual fundraisers, NGOs working for COVID-19 relief or towards communities in need.
If you’re healthy and able to move around, you can volunteer for numerous tasks including delivering food and medicines to COVID-19 patients. You can share a social media post with your availability, location, timings, and contact (if you feel unsafe sharing your number, ask people to direct message you). You can also check with NGOs or in your neighbourhood groups if there are people in your vicinity who need help as well.
In emergency situations, families are unable to contact all the leads they have for requirements like hospital beds or oxygen cylinders. You can offer your time to call up the leads and verify availability, price and other important details. If you know anyone who needs urgent help within your social circle, you can start there or if you see any SOS posts on social media, you can also extend your help there as well.
4. Cook meals
Currently, COVID-19 patients isolating at home, elderly and disabled people whose caregivers are infected require food. Several people have collated lists to share how many meals can be cooked and delivered in their areas. If you’re able to cook in bulk, you can add your names to the lists and get in touch with those in need.
5. Help students
While it is bizarre that colleges and universities still expect students to meet deadlines during such dire circumstances, many are struggling to do so as they test positive or are quarantined with families. Sign up to help students complete assignments in subjects that you are comfortable with.
But, perhaps the biggest way that you can help during this crisis even if you can’t do anything else is to stay home, double mask up when you need to leave the house for emergencies, wash your hands and stay safe!
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)