PTI UAE INDIA-1619444209452
Oxygen tankers being airlifted on an IAF plane in Dubai. Image Credit: PTI

Dubai: The Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi and the Sikh Gurudwara in Dubai are leading efforts of Indians in the UAE to send oxygen support for COVID-19 patients back home who are facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen in several states.

In line with the vision of the UAE’s leadership and with the support of members of the UAE’s Indian community, BAPS Hindu Mandir in Abu Dhabi is working to create a supply chain of oxygen tanks and cylinders which will provide upwards of 440 metric tonnes of liquid oxygen per month starting this week, the first Hindu temple coming up in Abu Dhabi said on Wednesday.

“This oxygen will be provided to the needy through the government and BAPS’s own network of COVID hospitals,” stated Swami Brahmaviharidas.

He said the first round of relief being sent this week will include 44 metric tons of liquid oxygen, 30,000 litres of medical oxygen gas in 600 cylinders and 130 oxygen concentrators. “Logistical support for these humanitarian efforts is being provided by the Transworld Group via air and sea.”

He said the BAPS Hindu Mandir sadhus and volunteers have joined community members in creating a dedicated supply chain of support and services.

Gurudwara’s support

Meanwhile, the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudwara is also pitching in with a monthly supply of 10 oxygen containers, said Surender Singh Kandhari, chairman of the Gurudwara. “We have already organised it. Our first shipment will go on Saturday or Sunday,” he told Gulf News. “We are going to support the people who need oxygen in Delhi and Punjab.”

The religious heads have also called for prayers for the country to tide over the COVID-19 crisis. “With these efforts, we also request everyone to join themselves in earnest prayer and devotion. May the Almighty show his grace and compassion on India and the world in these most devastating times,” said Swami Brahmaviharidas

Corporate support

Sources said Indian entrepreneur-led corporations are working with the Indian Embassy to airlift cryogenic oxygen containers, oxygen cylinders and ship oxygen concentrators to ensure better outreach of the life-saving gas.

The Indian Air Force had airlifted a total of 12 cryogenic tanks from Dubai to West Bengal over Monday and Tuesday. “Our Indian Air Force team is back in Dubai. They have airlifted the remaining 6 cryogenic tanks to India today. Thank you, Dubai, @AmbKapoor, @IAF_MCC and Caley Energy @CaleyFzco for helping us to make this happen,” the Adani Group said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Anthony Petit, group chief procurement officer of Aster DM Healthcare said the group is also working on sending assistance to India where the group is operating several facilities. “We have extended our help from the UAE in sourcing medical oxygen concentrators from both India (to see what is available within the country) and from overseas. We only got negative responses from the India market and none of the equipment is available domestically. However, we have hope to source some concentrators from overseas and are awaiting supplier feedback in the coming days,” he said in a statement.

“At this stage the PPE stock is not an issue. Only COVID-specific drugs regulated by the Indian Ministry of Health are in high demand resulting in shortages … as well as oxygen supply which remains a concern in the short terms for the community and in the midterm for Aster facilities,” he added.

Sources said a few other Indian and UAE establishments are also doing their bit to help India weather this unprecedented health crisis.

Individuals clueless

Meanwhile, several individual members of the Indian community wonder how to support the affected areas directly as the requirement is for oxygen and beds unlike food provisions, clothes and money which they used to send home during previous natural calamities like floods and earthquakes. There is no consolidated campaign being done here.

A spokesperson of the Indian Consulate in Dubai clarified that India has not asked for cash donations. He said the mission has directed those who expressed interest to support with oxygen to the Indian Red Cross Society, which is working with the health ministry in India for the distribution of medical oxygen.

Donation to government fund

Some community members are also donating money to the government funds back home.

Adil Sadique, media relations executive of Emirates Companies House, said around 45 employees of the business advisory and management consultancy took part in the Vaccine Challenge of Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan after the company’s CEO Iqbal Marconi took up the initiative. “Some of our non-Indian colleagues also contributed to the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund and shared screenshots of the certificates they received from the additional chief secretary,” said Adil.