Why do people help each other

India during the corona pandemic: this is how people help each other

Rickshaw ambulance, oxygen donations and free food for corona sufferers. In India, a country particularly hard hit by the pandemic, people stand up for one another in different ways.

Many in the capital New Delhi and other cities in India are now staying at home - at least if they can afford it. The health system is at its limit, many know people who have died of Corona. But some go out to make life easier for the sick, even if it puts them and their loved ones at risk.

An ambulance ride is currently expensive in several places in India. Because the rush is great. Sometimes private providers even demand prices of around 225 euros for five kilometers, says Mohit Raj. He is the founder of an aid organization. They gave more than a dozen rickshaw drivers protective suits, oxygen bottles, oximeters and other medical equipment - and a brief training session.

A woman suffering from Covid-19 on the way to the hospital: Because ambulances are scarce and expensive, Rischka drivers transport infected people through the city for free. (Source: Avishek Das / SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire / dpa)

The rickshaw ambulance is now driving Corona patients free of charge through the capital New Delhi. The drivers are paid for by the aid organization. So they would have an income despite the lockdown in New Delhi. Such rickshaw ambulances are also found in other parts of India.

Free oxygen from religious groups

The pandemic is particularly violent in India: on Sunday alone, the Ministry of Health reported more than 311,170 new infections within 24 hours, and more than 4,000 people died. The number of unreported cases is likely to be significantly higher. The violent corona wave is also approaching Paramjit Singh. He lost 30 relatives, friends and acquaintances and now decided to help others. Singh is a Sikh and offers free oxygen with dozens of other fellow believers in several places around the capital New Delhi. This is intended to help corona sufferers in isolation or to survive a desperate search for one of the few free beds in a hospital, he says.

Medical oxygen bottles are refilled: Religious groups offer oxygen free of charge to Covid-19 infected patients. (Source: Naveen Sharma / SOPA Images via ZUMA Wire / dpa)

He tries to organize oxygen for up to 18 hours a day. Because of his professional connections to the pharmaceutical industry, he can buy the scarce gas at reasonable prices - not at the excessive prices on the black market. Other religious groups also help, but most of them Sikhs. Singh explains: "We Sikhs follow the philosophical concept of Sarbat Da Bhala or Wohl für alle."

Free food in quarantine

In the second wave, whole families get sick and the virus spreads quickly. When they're all exhausted, what's the best way to get well again? If she didn't have to worry about getting healthy food as well, thought businessman Rajiv Singal from the financial metropolis of Mumbai. That was the case with him and his family last year. Fortunately, they found an elderly woman in the neighborhood who cooks good food in her kitchen for little money - and delivers it to anyone who is interested.

A free meal from businessman Rajiv Singal: Together with his team, he distributes the food daily to corona sufferers and people in quarantine. (Source: Raj Kumar Singh / Tiffin Service / dpa)

There are many such housewives in India who earn such a small additional income. Singal now buys food from her every day for 200 corona sufferers for two weeks and pays for their deliveries with some professional colleagues.

A dating app and social networks can help

Bringing people together who fit together - that is what dating apps promise. Now the Indian app TrulyMadly connects recently recovered Covid patients with people who are still sick who have the same blood group and are nearby. Those who have recovered can donate their blood plasma to the matched person and use the antibodies to help them get well.

How effective this plasma therapy is is still somewhat unclear. The biggest problem with this is that you should give the plasma to sick people early - before they are very sick, and at this point in time the sick usually do not make an effort.

In the past few weeks, many Indians have been desperately looking for hospital beds, medical oxygen, medicine and ventilators on social media. Many people responded to these calls for help and sent hints.

Lockdowns and other corona measures are particularly bad for poor people and some Bollywood stars are helping. Superstar Salman Khan, for example, helps thousands of now unemployed technicians, make-up artists and stunt people financially, while actor Sonu Sood donates oxygen bottles, among other things.