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COVID Warriors | As SOS calls mount, volunteers step in to save lives

Hemkunt Foundation best exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism in the Sikh community; as the scourge ravages India, healthcare activists give it all, rise to the occasion

April 26, 2021 / 04:56 PM IST
India’s medical oxygen shortage has become so dire that a Sikh house of worship began offering free breathing sessions with shared tanks to COVID-19 patients waiting for a hospital bed. (Image: AP)

India’s medical oxygen shortage has become so dire that a Sikh house of worship began offering free breathing sessions with shared tanks to COVID-19 patients waiting for a hospital bed. (Image: AP)

For Harteerath Singh, Community Development Director, Hemkunt Foundation, death has been an everyday occurrence over the last few days. He is physically and mentally exhausted and so are the 150-plus volunteers of the foundation.

“It has been hard for my family, including many of whom have tested COVID-19 positive, and also all our volunteers. We are sleeping on an average three to four hours every day. We are sleep deprived, and mentally exhausted,” he says over phone, even as he missed 11 SOS calls in the meantime.

Singh himself contracted the virus twice and was tested negative last week.

His only coping mechanism, he explained, has been to tally the number of dead and those they were able to save as he ends the day, anywhere between 1 am to 3 am. “As long as people saved are more than those who died, I think we can keep this up,” he says.