During the outbreak of the Covid 19 Pandemic, tens of thousands of people suffered on a National level including Migrant workers, Police Authorities, Health workers, Daily wage earners, Commercial sex workers, orphanages, Old Age homes and people from all walks of life. From the beginning of the Lockdown in Mid-March 2020, the Indian Red Cross Society, Pune District Branch took upon itself to help people with the limited resources in hand and ensured that each project was implemented with perfection and precision, making sure that the affected were directly benefited from these limited resources.
DISTRIBUTION OF BREAKFAST MEALS AND ESSESTIALS
As soon as the lockdown was implemented, several thousands of migrants workers were stranded at Pune and were given accommodation in the govt run schools in terrible living conditions. The Indian Red Cross Society, decided to provide these stranded laborer’s with breakfast meals, hygiene materials, bed sheets, towels and necessary items for them to survive. By the end of the lockdown, the society had managed to provide meals to approximately 800 people each day for over 120 days, without a single days break.
DISTRIBUTION OF GROCERY AND RATION KITS
Over 5000 kits of grocery items like, rice, dal, oil, spices, atta etc was distributed to daily wage earners and commercial sex workers who had lost their livelihood due to the pandemic. Each kit was valued at Rs. 800 and the society spent approximately Rs. Five Lacs towards this project.
DISTRIBUTION OF CHIPS, CHOCOLATES AND JUICES
Through the donations received in kind from M/s ITC, we were able to provide Juices, Biscuits, Bournvita, Chips, Chocolates etc to several orphanages, old age homes, missionary camps etc.
DISTRIBUTION OF VIT – D 12 , MASKS, SANITIZERS
Over 12000 Vitamin D3 tablets were distributed to senior citizens irrespective of financial status and more importantly to those who resided at Old age homes.
Over 10000 Masks and 5000 bottles of Sanitizers were provided to Police Personnel and health workers.
DISTRIBUTIONS OF ORS TO HEALTH WORKERS
ORS (Oral rehydration solutions) were provided to the staff, doctors and nurses of several hospitals who worked tirelessly during this period, including those at Cantonment Hospital, Sassoon General Hospital, K E M Hospital and more.
FREE AMBULANCE SERVICES
Free Ambulance services were provided to any person who needed the same at NO COST. The free ambulance services were provided for local trips. Several outstation trips were also made at a very modest cost to the patient
FREE HEALTH CHECK UP CAMPS
Health Check up Camps were provided at 38 locations across Pune to monitor the health of residents living in particular areas where the number of cases had surged. The IRCS, Pune diagnosed several persons who were given proper guidelines towards their treatment and hospitalization
HOME ISOLATION CARE SERVICES
Over 1000 home isolation kits were supplied to the needy with thermometers, Oxymeters, required medications, free telephonic consultation etc.
Though used to facing the vagaries of life unflinchingly, The migrants suddenly found themselves without a job or any other source of income when the total lockdown was announced in late march of 2020, that was periodically extend.
Living away from home is not easy even at the best of times and it’s definitely nerve-racking during a crisis. Migrants are no exceptions. Better opportunities beckoned them to Pune. But now they were stuck in the brokenness and chaotic pandemic/lockdown life in Pune.
Overnight the employers of Hara Mishra, Bijay Swain, Sarat Patnik and Sisir Panda turned their backs on them, public transport was suspended, and fear of hunger combined with fear of covid infection loomed large before them. It was either stay put and ride it out or begin their arduous journey back home. They chose what they thought was a better of the two evils, and decided to return home. Riding on lorries, water tankers or milk vans was not an option for they had no money, walking was their only option.
While walking towards the Pune railway station from Katraj, they were stopped by the police. The police did not allow them to proceed or go back to Katraj. All four were in a fix. After a while they found an empty parking lot nearby and waited. How long could they survive without food? Who would help them? Lonely, overwhelmed and anxious, a sense of hopelessness creeped in their psyche, and their level of despondency steadily rose, when help knocked on their door in the guise of Red Cross volunteers.
The Red Cross, true to their mission and vision of alleviating human suffering in the face of emergencies, to protect life and health, provided Hara, Bijay, Sarat and Sisir two meals daily through their local volunteer network, thereby ensuring respect for fellow humans! (as informed by Trimbak and Kaushal Yadav of Chhattisgarh) The Chhattisgarh lads are sure that the Hara and his friends would remember the good deeds of Red Cross volunteers with every morsel of food they ate thereafter.