India – Salesian response to "unprecedented crisis" of new wave of Covid-19

06 May 2021

(ANS - New Delhi) - “The second wave of covid-19 in India and in particular in Delhi is extremely violent. Every phone call we receive is a desperate call for help or is made to inform us of someone's death. We have lost many of our friends and family on staff. Few staff members are in critical situations, but many have tested positive.” Thus wrote the Indian Salesian Fr Biju Akkilettu, Economer of the New Delhi Province in a heartbreaking letter.

In recent days, more than 400,000 cases and about 3,500 deaths a day have been found in the country, the highest number recorded to date worldwide since the beginning of the pandemic. In the capital, all the hospitals are in crisis, there are no beds available, people are crowded in the corridors, equipment and oxygen are lacking. And if the violence of this wave is affecting all walks of life, the marginalized population is the one that is suffering the most: poor families in the slums, children of the slums, those who live on the street, migrants, people with disabilities. ...

Fr Akkilettu continues: “It is a very serious situation, we are trying to do our best to reach people in all possible ways. Based on the requests for help we receive every day and according to our assessment, we have prepared an emergency action plan to support vulnerable people in this context of health disaster.”

Even in the Bangalore Province, the situation requires the utmost effort: "BREADS", the Provincial Planning and Development Office, has already taken action at all levels: it has begun to deliver food at home to the sick in quarantine; supplies masks, sanitizers and personal protective equipment. Fr Anil D'Sa, Head of Youth Groups and Movements, and all the young volunteers who, together with him, are committed to serving the needy and helping nurses and doctors in hospitals of the city; it is also financially supporting many families who are unable to meet medical/hospital expenses or who have lost their head of household due to the pandemic; in addition, it is also planning, in collaboration with the municipality, a center for Covid-19 patients in the slums of Lingarajapuram.

All this, while many Salesians, young people and staff members also tested positive and they too need to be treated.

Finally, also in the Hyderabad Province, the Provincial Planning and Development Office "Bosco Seva Kendra" has prepared a vast relief program to deal with the "unprecedented crisis" that has hit the country. The project plans to deliver pre-cooked and nutritionally balanced foods to 5,000 households (4 people on average); food supplies (cereals, oil, biscuits, salt ...) and hygiene kits (handkerchiefs, masks, sanitizers ...) to 2,000 families; medical kits (inhalers, thermometers, vitamins…) and nutrient kits (food and energy drinks) to 1,500 families; and 1,000 specific kits for pregnant women and new mothers.

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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