India’s deadly Covid-19 second wave has devastated big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Pune, Chennai and Bengaluru. Hospitals and crematoriums have run out of space, and funerals are taking place in car parks. But the pandemic has now firmly gripped many smaller cities, towns and villages where the devastation is largely under-reported.

People spend many hours taking their kith and kin from one hospital to another in Autos, bikes as the people cannot get an ambulance or any other vehicles. Once they reach to the hospitals, the hospital administration washes its hands saying there are no beds available, ventilators are running short, pharmacies are empty even if they have medicines are unaffordable by a normal even a middle class family. Thus the people leave ultimately everything to fate and come home leaving the patients on the corridors and sometimes spaces wherever available in the hospital vicinities.

The hospitals when they don’t find a place for patients with virus, send you back home to care for ourselves with prescribed medicines, we need to buy ourselves. And when people go to buy medicines in pharmacies, either it is very costly which even a middle class family can’t afford or not available at all.

A son who had taken his father to the hospital and returned without getting a bed for his father, cries on TV news as follows: “I am giving him medicines at home, but I am not sure that he will survive. We have been left to die on the streets.  He says several private hospitals even “conned” him and took money to do tests, only to tell him later to take his father away as there were no beds. “I am not a wealthy person. I spent whatever I had to pay the auto driver and to hospitals. Now I am going to borrow some money to get an oxygen cylinder at home.”  Such stories have become common in Delhi and other metropolitan cities, the worst affected city in India, but similar accounts are now coming in from smaller cities and towns across the country.

All the more government has made the ‘Remdesivir Injection’ sold only by the Government in Government hospitals, the relatives need to stand in line for hours together and sometime for days without food and drink and some lose their lives for dehydration, etc. this is very much true and has become common if you watch the news on India while it could be the same elsewhere on the globe, to see it is really devastating.

The Oblates were not exempted from this infection of this deadly virus. Several Oblates in India are infected with this virus, few have recovered from with great difficulties, and some have been treated in home quarantine with medicines prescribed by hospitals. Few others do not get beds. As we approach even the catholic hospitals for bed availability, even the routine hospitals the Oblates commute, say that they don’t have, for really the hospitals are full. Thus we need to wait for days to get a place in the hospitals. At least for now the number of the Oblates gone up to 08 seriously infected and hospitalized and some others are in home quarantine, several Oblate students and brothers are treated with medications, with ‘Ayurveda’ remedies in the communities itself as neither beds nor resources are available in reserve for us in this all of a sudden devastatingly increase of this deadly virus in the second wave.

In the first wave the Oblates concentrated outside of our communities to help the people affected by this very much but now in the second wave we need to concentrate both within our communities who need help and without/outside for the people who are really struggling for their livelihood and survival physically, mentally and medically. We too as the people do here leave it to God the Almighty to take care of the Oblates and people in his abundant mercy and compassion.

Thank you.

Fr.Varam Anthonyswamy OMI

St. Eugene Province, India