Photo for representational purpose only_pixabay image
COVID-19: Nagas in Delhi share their second wave experience-I
Morung Express News
Dimapur | May 5
As India grapples with the devastating impact of the second wave of COVID-19, particularly in worst affected areas like National Capital Territory of Delhi, the common refrain from Nagas residing in the region is of a ‘wave’ unlike any other.
When The Morung Express reached out to some Naga residents in Delhi to inquire how they are coping with the challenges, many agree the situation was ‘desperate’ and indicated that the ground reality is more serious than what is reported on media outlets.
Incidentally, many people contacted by this newspaper were either recuperating or had someone in their immediate circle infected with the virus.
However, amid the trying situation, the community spirit is also coming handy as Naga and North East Community reached out to assist one another in every possible way.
The second wave of COVID-19 has been almost catastrophic for many states including New Delhi, informed an elder from New Delhi, who is currently involved closely in mounting a coordinated community response.
“The infectivity level has been very exponentially high affecting many in Delhi including Nagas and other NE communities. Some are in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) while others are under home care. It is a painful and desperate situation,” he said.
Everyone is struggling and unlike the first wave when it was more of a matter of ration distribution and economic sustenance, the second wave has proven to be a battle of survival. There is a mad scramble for oxygen cylinders, oxygen beds, ICU beds and Covid drugs, the demand of which has far exceeded the supply.
I have come across many people, who are infected, including many Nagas, many of whom are living alone, affirmed Dr Zuchamo Yanthan, President Naga Scholar Association, who himself is recuperating from the infection.
Now everyone is affected and facing the same problem of access to healthcare, medicine and oxygen he noted, indicating that the crisis is more serious than what is reported various media outlets.
Many students union are working hand in hand but the second wave is unlike the first. The avenue for such help is limited due to scarcity of health facilities as well as the intensity of the virus itself, Dr Zuchamo added.
“While oxygen is scarce, hard to come by medicine is also out of reach for common people.” Almost every family I know is one way or other affected and the current wave is more serious, informed Elvina S Amongla, who teaches English at a college in Delhi University.
To get admitted into a hospital is a luxury in itself, while access to regular dose of oxygen and life-saving medicine are extremely difficult, if not impossible, she said, resulting in anxiety and panic.
Because of the aggressive social media circulation on COVID news, people have the tendency to get scared and panic, she shared.
“I am privileged as a teacher who is getting a regular salary while many of my Naga brothers and sisters, who have quit their jobs or do not have a job, are struggling for their ends meet. This implication of insecurity at various levels is not an exaggeration at all and it cannot be ignored,” she added.
While doctors have advised for home isolation for mild or moderate symptoms, even access to such facility can be challenging and difficult in the actual scenario as space is an issue. It is a luxury to have a three - BHK (Bedroom, Hall, Kitchen) for many Nagas on rent and considering the economic condition for most of the Nagas across the cities in India, one would either opt for 2BHK or 1BHK as per the financial condition, Elvina elaborated.
While official account is hard to come by, anecdotal evidence suggested that many Nagas and people from the North East community have succumbed to the infection.
Media is reporting in a ‘justifiable way,’ agreed Naga Students’ Union General Secretary Vitso Rio, implying that the situation is ‘scary’.
“In the first wave, it was about basic amenities; now the situation is reverse. We are literally gasping for oxygen, everyone is affected and Nagas are no exception,” he said.
“Even if we wanted to help, there are constraints. Having money does not help either as there are no medicine, oxygen or hospital beds,” he elaborated.
It has become very difficult even to give a decent burial to a COVID-19 victim following all the protocols. We get barely 5-10 minutes for the last rite as others who are waiting in line for their turn also have to be taken into consideration, the elder said.
One lesson learnt so far is that no one can afford to take the pandemic lightly as Covid 19 does not discriminate and no section of the society is immune. We are faced with an unprecedented situation where almost everyone wakes up to WhatsApp messages of someone passing away, he added.
On being asked whether the Nagaland Government was providing any assistance, another elder in Delhi said, “I am sure, they are working on some form of response,” without elaborating further. “I am not aware of such arrangements,” Dr Zuchamo stated, though both later informed of a meeting scheduled by the DRC on May 5.
Last year, the Nagaland Emergency Centre Delhi gave much assistance, but this time it is different, Rio said while informing that the Deputy Resident Commissioner (DRC), Nagaland House New Delhi is coordinating in ‘some way or the other’.