Faisal Edhi, son of renowned philanthropist Abdul Sattar Edhi and chairman of the Edhi Foundation, penned a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday in which he expressed his concern on the Covid-19 crisis underway in India and offered his help in confronting the epidemic.
“We, at the Edhi Foundation, have been closely following the current impact that the Covid-19 crisis has had on the people of India.
“We are very sorry to hear about the exceptionally heavy impact that the pandemic has had on your country, where a tremendous number of people are suffering immensely,” said Faisal in his letter.
He said the Edhi Foundation sympathised with India during this difficult time and offered help in the form of “a fleet of 50 ambulances along with our services to assist you in addressing, and further circumventing, the current health conditions”.
Faisal personally offered to lead and manage the humanitarian team from his organisation, said the letter.
It added that the Edhi Foundation understood the gravity of the situation and “we wish to lend you our full support, without any inconvenience to you, which is why we will arrange all the necessary supplies that our team needs to assist the people of India.”
“Importantly, we are not requesting any other assistance from you, as we are providing the fuel, food, and other necessary amenities that our team will require.
“Our team consists of emergency medical technicians, office staff, drivers, and supporting staff,” he explained.
Faisal said that in order to implement the proposed service, permission to enter India was requested as well as any necessary guidance from local administration and the police department. “We are willing and ready to deploy our team into any critical areas of concern at your direction without hesitation,” he said.
“We look forward to assisting you in managing the current humanitarian crises, and hope only to provide our help in whatever way that we can, for the benefit of the people of India.”
A press release from the organisation added that Faisal would depart with his team of volunteers as soon as he received permission.
India marked a grim milestone in the Covid-19 pandemic on Thursday, reporting 314,835 new daily cases, the highest one-day tally anywhere, as its second wave and similar surges elsewhere have raised new fears about the ability of health services to cope.
Hospitals across northern and western India including the capital, New Delhi, issued notices to say they have only a few hours of medical oxygen required to keep Covid-19 patients alive. More than two-thirds of hospitals had no vacant beds, according to the Delhi government’s online data base and doctors advised patients to stay at home.
Coverage by media showed heart wrenching scenes of patients facing difficulty breathing queuing on stretchers outside hospitals, waiting to be treated or let inside hospitals running at full capacity. According to reports, many died outside hospitals without getting a chance to be treated.
Krutika Kuppalli, assistant professor at the Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical University of South Carolina in the United States, had said on Twitter the crisis was leading to a collapse of the healthcare system.
India’s total cases were at 15.93 million on Thursday, while deaths had risen by 2,104 to reach a total of 184,657, according to health ministry data.