Mangaluru: Voluntary helpers face challenges with increasing number of COVID bodies

Mafazah Sharafuddin
May 31, 2021

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As is the situation all over India, in Mangaluru too, the burial and cremation of the bodies of COVID patients has become an issue. The workers are overworked and face a shortage of materials needed to complete their tasks in a safe and healthy manner. 

There are several challenges that have arisen during the pandemic. One among them in the sudden surge of deaths, meaning there are more dead bodies on a daily basis than the workers at crematoriums and burial grounds are equipped to handle. This has given way to several groups of volunteers who are taking the initiative to solve the problem. 

However, the volunteers too, are facing several problems. Without government aid, they have to pay for protective gear, PPE kits, gloves, masks, shields etc. from their own pocket. While sometimes the family of the deceased pay for the same, there have been many instances where the family simply cannot afford to do so. In these instances, volunteer organizations conduct burials on their own dime.

In addition to this, they have also been facing the issue that sometimes, the family of the deceased are too afraid to touch the body, in fear of infection. The volunteers have taken to cleaning the bodies, too, rather than just burying them as the families refrain from touching the bodies. 

With it being death due to COVID, the situation becomes more complex. The bodies have to be transported from the hospital or homes by people in protective gear. The equipment costs money, and since most of the work is done on a volunteer basis, there is no government aid. 

Owing to this, not all of the volunteers have sufficient protective equipment. This makes them susceptible to infection. It is a precarious situation as they are working closely with one another, if one of them gets infected, the others are likely to do the same. . They use the equipment they do have to perform the task with as much efficiency as they can, doing all they can to avoid infection.

Further, the transportation calls for another slew of issues. The transport of bodies is a task that has to be done promptly. Due to the lockdowns, the movement of civilians is restricted. The volunteers aren’t official workers, and therefore, find it hard to obtain passes to safely travel without police intervention. 

They are understaffed, as it is unpaid work done in a voluntary fashion. There are several other tasks they perform in addition to this, like arranging for beds, transporting medicine, ensuring that patients get the benefits of the Ayushman card etc. This leaves them overworked and busy all day. 

It goes as far as the workers not having time to stop for meals although part of the work they do is providing food to those waiting with their loved ones in the hospital and those out of work and hungry due to the lockdown. According to the workers, they don’t think of food, and eat when they can. That falls low on their list of worries. 

The majority of the current crisis falls to the lack of attention from the administration. When asked what they could use assistance with, the answers were many. This includes PPE kits, face masks, shields, gloves, passes for transport etc. 

However, a volunteer stated that the real help they would get is only from the government. He said that for now they are able to feed themselves while still providing assistance to people, and that without proper measures taken people would be left without food to eat. He said that there was a dire need of lockdowns to be implemented well, keeping measures for daily wage workers and those who cannot earn money during a lockdown. He said there was also a need for ambulances, and protective gear provided by the government to ensure that people can be transported safely. 

According to him, while there are plenty of medical colleges and hospitals in Mangalore, the surrounding areas are suffering and people are unable to seek treatment. While the volunteers are doing all they can to assist the patients, and help provide proper services for the deceased, there is only so much they can do. Without government aid, it will be impossible to continue this for as long as it needs to be done.

Comments

sameer
 - 
Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

Dear CD team,
If you could devote a corner space for these voluntary organizations along with the way to donate to them, it would be very fruitful, as many people dont know these organizations.
Thx

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News Network
November 22,2021

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Mangaluru, Nov 22: The Social Democratic Party of India has warned the Congress leaders of dire consequences if they continue to target the SDPI workers. A video, which has gone viral on social media, depicts SDPI Dakshina Kannada District President Abubakkar Kulai is heard warning the Congress, has sparked row. 

While addressing a public gathering, he said he has been observing that the Congress leaders are overcome by desperation at the growth of SDPI leaders during the last ten years in the Mangaluru Assembly constituency.

"The Congress party was disappointed to note the growth of our organization. As many as 58 representatives have emerged from this constituency. Seeing this, they (Congress leaders) are unable to bear our growth, and hence they are engineering attacks on our workers by hiring small-time goondas. You (Congress leaders) must be ashamed of it. Till now we had kept our heads low, but we have two 'Ms" with us. One is Manpower and two is Muscle power," Abubakker is heard saying.

"If you touch our workers anywhere. We will use our one M. Be careful. Our leaders have told us that if you want to join the SDPI, you should be ready for everything. You should be ready to sleep in hospitals. You must be ready to go to jail. You should be even ready to go to the graveyard.

"That doesn't mean that we will bow to you (Congress leaders). We know how to send you to that same hospital. And we also know how to send you to the same graveyard. We are going to respect the law of the land. We are giving respect to the law of the land. Hence, dare not touch our workers," he threatened.

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coastaldigest.com news network
November 16,2021

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Mangaluru, Nov 16: Six persons have been arrested in connection with an immoral policing case in the Surathkal town of Dakshina Kannada district, police said on Tuesday. 

The incident happened on last night, said the police, and the arrested persons have been identified as Prahlad, Prashanth, Guruprasad, Prateesh, Bharath and Sukesh. 

They are accused of offences punishable under Sections 354, 354 (D), 153 A, 341, 143, 147, 148, 323, 504, 506 and 149 of the Indian Penal Code. 

All the accused are said to be supporters or activists of a saffron outfit.

M Yasin, BSc student of Mukka Srinivas college and his classmate, girl student belonging to another religion, were the victims.

Police said that Yasin was dropping the girl on his bike to her apartment as per her request at 10 p.m. 

The miscreants, who spotted them near the apartment, stopped them and inquired about the boy’s name, and assaulted him for dropping the girl. They also threatened the girl and touched her inappropriately while assaulting Yasin.

The victim later lodged a complaint against the accused persons. The police are investigating the matter.

Incidentally, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai while answering a question on rising cases of immoral policing in Dakshina Kannada had stated that the responsibility lies with both parties and when sentiments are hurt there will be action and reactions.

The statement was condemned and various organisations and thinkers said Bommai’s neutral comments would encourage those indulging in moral policing.

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News Network
November 23,2021

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Kuwait City, Nov 23: Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid has been reappointed prime minister, state media said on Tuesday, and tasked with forming a cabinet that would be the Gulf OPEC oil producer's third this year in a domestic political standoff.

State news agency KUNA said Sheikh Sabah, prime minister since late 2019, was reappointed by an emiri order issued by Crown Prince Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah. The government had resigned on Nov. 8 in the standoff with the elected parliament.

Emir Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmed al-Sabah last week temporarily handed over some of his main constitutional duties to the crown prince, his designated successor, including naming the prime minister and swearing in the cabinet.  

Before doing so, the emir had accepted the government's resignation as part of measures to end a months-long deadlock between the government and opposition lawmakers. He also issued an amnesty pardoning political dissidents to defuse the row.

Several opposition MPs had wanted to question Sheikh Sabah on various issues, including the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and corruption, despite a motion in March that had granted him temporary immunity.

The row had paralysed legislative work, hindering fiscal reform efforts, including a debt law that would allow Kuwait to tap international markets.

State finances are set to improve this year thanks to higher oil prices, after the coronavirus downturn led to a budget deficit of 15.4% of GDP in the 2020/21 fiscal year.

Kuwait has given its legislature more influence than similar bodies in other Gulf monarchies, including the power to pass and block laws, question ministers and submit no-confidence votes against senior government officials.

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