The foundation has also set up a dedicated helpline (9990691313) where people can reach out for help.

“We used to receive 10,000 calls on a daily basis from the families and friends of critical patients asking for oxygen cylinders or concentrators,” Singh said. “The number of calls has come down to around 3,000 now.”

Singh believes that the situation in Delhi is now somewhat under control.

How did Hemkunt Foundation get oxygen?

At a time when even the Indian government was caught unawares, Hemkunt Foundation faced its own challenges in organising oxygen supplies to help the needy.

The organisation, which has over 100 volunteers aged 17-65 years, tapped many doors to arrange oxygen concentrators and other medical supplies, Singh said.

“We arranged oxygen from anywhere we could. Be it Delhi, London, the US, Mumbai, we tried everything. We ordered around 2,700 concentrators,” Singh said. “We bought them at whatever prices they were available.”

Among his biggest challenges, Singh said, was dealing with the governments. “Some of our vehicles containing oxygen cylinders got seized.”

“When there’s a shortage, states also do not want their oxygen to go to some other place. Rajasthan did not want its oxygen to move to Delhi and there were other states doing the same, too,” he added.

Now, Hemkunt Foundation has enough oxygen that it is helping out even hospitals. The NGO also launched a “drive-through” initiative under which they provide oxygen to patients inside their cars.

The organisation is also setting up “mini centres” that have up to 20 oxygen concentrators so patients don’t need to travel all the way to Gurugram. “We are expanding our services beyond Delhi too,” Singh said.

There has also been a significant drop in the number of patients who have been reaching out to Hemkunt Foundation in recent days. “I think for Delhi-Gurugram the worst is over. However, for states such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan, the situation is still grim. The virus is going to the rural belt now,” he said.

India has been dealing with an oxygen shortage for the past month. While hospitals in the national capital were putting up SOS requests over social media, many caregivers of Covid-19 patients were asking for medical help through tweets and Instagram posts as the country’s overburdened system failed to keep up with the record spike in cases.

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