June 7, 2023

Great Indian Mutiny

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Govt-19: Oxygen shortage, overcrowded fire and black market: Disaster in India | Community

“We received 6,000 requests for oxygen at our help desk on Friday, but we only had 1,000 cylinders,” says Taha Matin, one of the co-ordinators of Mercy Mission, the largest NGO consortium against covit in the southern population. From India, Bangalore.

Known around the world as the Indian capital of IT and nightclubs, Bangalore now has a dubious honor. The southern city of the country has the highest death toll from the disease Recorded since the onset of the second wave of infection. The city is the capital of the state of Karnataka with a population of about 8.4 million. One of the four Indian states affected by Govt, Currently limited to 14 days until May 12th.

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Government of Karnataka press release that official figures are far below reality With 710,347 confirmed cases in Bangalore on Thursday, the death toll stands at 6,139 Govt. The city of Pune (in the western state of Maharashtra) and the national capital Delhi have also survived the disaster. In terms of daily increase in cases, Bangalore is second only to Delhi.

The magnitude of the crisis in the capital of Karnataka The 93 hectares of land on the outskirts of Bangalore can be measured by the government’s approval to convert it into 23 cemeteries and crematoriums. To make matters worse, residents in several landlocked cities voiced opposition to the plan. They allege that the planned crematorium is very close to the cities.

On Thursday, when they visited the electric crematorium at Kalpalli, east of Bangalore, they were there All 50 ears are lined up. “The corpses are crumbling. Stay away,” a group of drivers shouted at us as they chatted together as they waited for their turn. Is.

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Employees at the facility complained that they were being treated in an inhumane manner and that the government had not clarified what they would be paid. Workers belong to caste Dalits Of the Hindu social order (formerly known as the Untouchables). “Most of us belong to families who have been doing this work for centuries and generations,” said A. Suresh, 42, one of the leaders of the crematorium.

Communities that believe in burying the dead suffer not only from the loss of their loved ones, but also from the lack of dignity at the funeral. There is no longer room in the city’s cemeteries, And the new land proposed by the government is eagerly awaited. “My father’s body had to be sent directly to the hospital for cremation. We could not even be there when they took him away,” laments Jalimule Sheikh, 36, during our meeting at Victoria Hospital, where he volunteers to vaccinate and hospitalize the elderly. Sheikh joined the relief effort after his father died last week. “I decided it was not the time to stay home crying. We say prayers nazam-e-jenaza (In “Absense”) by my father, “he explains.

Operators manufacture oxygen cylinders in Bangalore (India).
Operators manufacture oxygen cylinders in Bangalore (India).Jagadish NV / EFE

As in other parts of the country, lack of oxygen seems to be the leading cause of death. “Patients have to wait eight to 10 hours for oxygen to reach them. Most of them can’t wait that long,” says Dr. Bartoul Fatima, who works as a coordinator at NGO Labornet, which provides first aid for patients waiting to be hospitalized. “If we had enough oxygen the shortage of hospital beds would have been resolved. People die not because of a lack of drugs, but because of oxygen. “

Black market and hoarding

The situation has worsened as panic-stricken rich people are making large purchases and the hoarding and black market is rampant. The city’s newspapers are full of news about police raids on illegal vendors. In the past week alone, police have cracked down on 16 gangs trying to sell counterfeit or overpriced items.

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However, a superficial search on social networks is enough to find a network of illegal distributors that only supply oxygen cylinders and concentrators, But the main drugs and hospital beds To the highest bidder. Oxygen cylinder that can be rented for 2,000 rupees [unos 22 euros] Less than 40,000 are offered on the black market [unos 450 euros].

Nandish Kumar, a distributor of medical equipment, said there was no stock of oxygen concentrators for home use in the city. “If anyone makes a reservation now, I can deliver it on May 25. It will cost you Rs 70,000. [unos 780 euros]”, He says.” This is the official rate with the invoice. Those on the black market are high. “According to Kumar, concentrators were available in the city for another Rs 25,000 in March. [unos 280 euros].

Taha Matheen estimates that by integrating all of the city’s medical resources it can serve only one-tenth of the people in need of emergency treatment, and ensures that the vast majority of requests for hospital and equipment come to them through social networks.

“Rich and influential people do not need our help, the poor do not know how to access it. I wonder what we are doing,” said Padmini Ray, an expert and founder of Digital Humanities. Oxygen fluorine, A website used by city NGOs to raise funds and coordinate aid. To give an idea of ​​how confusing the situation is, Ray says people don’t return it after using the bottles. “We don’t have enough staff to distribute them and then retrieve them. Distribution is a priority,” he explains: “We don’t have humidifiers and regulators.”

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Lack of tests and vaccines

Meanwhile, the vaccination rate has been reduced as a ploy, and there is a severe dose shortage in the state. The Karnataka government has hastily changed the announced scheme for vaccination of 18- to 44-year-olds from May 1, although experts insist that the second wave can only be controlled by vaccinating 80% of them.

Application by Junior Citizens of the State The vaccine could be registered within hours of opening on Thursday, sparking angry anti-government protests on social media. The vaccination campaign will begin after May 12.

Cremation of one of those killed by Kovid in Bangalore.
Cremation of one of those killed by Kovid in Bangalore. Manjunath Kiran / AFP

“I have been waiting here since 8:30 pm and now they are telling me there is no dose,” Jaiprakash Narayan, 65, complained at Bowring Hospital in central Bangalore on Friday afternoon. Narayan and his 64-year-old wife moved to Kuwait after 30 years, while their children stayed there for work. “My wife has joint pain. We’ve alone. I do not know how we are going to stand in line tomorrow.” I try to buy a dose on the black market, but it fails, says Narayan. However, to allay fears, Karnataka General Secretary P. Ravikumar promises, “There is no shortage of vaccines for the elderly. There was a small calculation error that forced the youth to postpone vaccination. ”

Manohar Elawardy, of the Azim Premji Foundation, which sponsors 40 cities in the city, condemns: “The government only tests people with symptoms. No social screenings. As a result, there are cases that go undiagnosed and contribute to the spread. “Many primary care centers in the city are running out of equipment to carry out such tests,” he said.