Desperate people in India have called for help on social media as their country is hit by the coronavirus and their health system hits the breaking point.
Social media is overflowing with appeals for oxygen, hospital beds, or a place in an intensive care unit for loved ones who need life-saving care.
“I don’t want to lose my mother now,” wrote Dr. Ajay Koli, “please help me get an oxygen cylinder”, while Kritika Gayatri advocated plasma for a 26-year-old who “will not survive without it”. .
Many have left their phone numbers in the hopes that someone can reach out and help if the Covid crisis gets out of hand.
Troubling images from across the country have shown bodies cremated in the street as makeshift crematoriums were set up to handle the death toll.
India’s new coronavirus infections hit a record high on a fifth day on Monday as countries like the UK, Germany and the United States pledged to provide urgent medical assistance to help the overwhelmed hospitals.
Infections in the past 24 hours rose to 352,991, with overcrowded hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere turning patients away after running out of medical oxygen and beds.
Aditi Agrawal tweeted, “Need an oxygen cylinder for my friend’s grandmother in West Delhi. Please DM or reply with clues.”
Sayantan Ghosh also called for help: “HYDERABAD: You urgently need plasma for a critical patient, the lungs are 70% damaged and need immediate help. Please intensify this.”
Speaking on Good Morning Britain about the dire situation in India, journalist Nilanjana Bhowmick said: “I think there is a lot of panic right now too.
“The government blamed the people for this from the start.
“Can you really blame people if they know they don’t have access to anything?
“You are on your own. You go on social media.
“They ask for help, they don’t even pull strings, they just ask for help. Please help us with pointers, with anything you can do.”
She added, “We are sending desperate petitions out into the universe in the hope that someone will come to the rescue.”
A spokesman for Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the capital, New Delhi said: “The hospital is currently in begging and loan mode and it is in an extreme crisis situation.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi previously urged all citizens to get vaccinated and exercise caution, while hospitals and doctors issued urgent notices that they could not cope with the onslaught of patients.
In some of the hardest hit cities, including New Delhi, bodies have been cremated in makeshift facilities offering mass services.
NDTV television broadcast images of three health workers in the eastern state of Bihar pulling a corpse on the ground on the way to cremation when stretchers became scarce.
“If you’ve never been to a cremation, the smell of death never leaves you,” Vipin Narang, professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the United States, said on Twitter.
“My heart breaks for all of my friends and family in Delhi and India who are going through this hell.”
On Sunday, President Joe Biden said the United States would send raw materials to India for vaccines, medical devices and protective equipment.
Germany joined a growing list of countries that had committed to deliver supplies.
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, has an official figure of 17.31 million infections and 195,123 deaths, up from 2,812 overnight deaths, health ministry data showed, although health experts say infections and deaths are likely far higher.