Covid relief: Help pours in from abroad for south Gujarat villages

STRUGGLING TO cope with the rising number of coronavirus cases, some villages and towns in south Gujarat have started receiving help from several quarters. The Gujarati diaspora in the USA and Australia have sent home donations to help in humanitarian works, like providing tiffin services to patients in home quarantine, repairing and maintenance work at crematorium. The Pardi taluka in Valsad, which has been reporting high number of infections, is among the few beneficiaries.

On Monday, 127 fresh Covid-19 cases were reported in Valsad district, of which 25 were from Pardi. The taluka also reported nine fatalities due to the infection taking its total toll to 41. Until May 3, Valsad district recorded 3,645 cases and 34 deaths related to Covid-19. Of the 449 cases reported in Pardi taluka, currently, 114 are active. There are three major hospitals in Pardi — Mehta Hospital, Mohan Dayal Hospital and Pardi Hospital — that are treating coronavirus patients.

Volunteers from a local association, Jeevdaya Group, which has been supplying food to patients under home quarantine in the Pardi town said they have started receiving donations from abroad. Dharmesh Modi, a Jeevdaya member, said he also a part of a Facebook group, ‘We belong to Killa Pardi’ which has several members who are associated with Pardi but settled abroad.

“Since April 15, the Jeevdaya Group has started tiffin services for over hundred people in the town. There are teams which cook food and others that deliver it at the doorstep of patients twice a day. As we were facing a fund crunch, we made an appeal on the social media seeking donations. There are many of the villagers who are settled abroad, and now several have started donating funds,” Modi said.

The Jeevdaya members have also reached out to cremate the Covid-19 dead. “After we received donations from abroad, we managed to repair the chimney Monday,” Modi said.

In Tapi district’s Vyara taluka, too, donations have started pouring in from NRIs in the USA and other countries. Following an appeal for help on a Facebook group, Vyara Mitra Mandal, which has several natives from the town who are currently settled abroad, 10 oxygen concentrators were sent by members from the USA. Funds were also donated to purchase 10 oxygen concentrators and 20 BiPAP machines locally, Hasmukh Bhakt, a member of the FB group and a social worker, said.