Around 350 volunteers, comprising retired government employees, students, and members of non-government organizations have joined the efforts to fight COVID19 pandemic in the summer capital Srinagar.
These volunteers joined the efforts when authorities were issuing stay-at-home orders to people.
These volunteers include 32 doctors, 37 students and 250 members from non-government originations. They are working in 25 zone of Srinagar on the call of district administration.
The volunteer doctors have been very helpful in tele-counselling. Some paramedical volunteers are also working in laboratories.
On March 24, Srinagar administration had called for volunteers, retried doctors and paramedics who wished to work for community. Hundreds registered their names via virtual mode following which 350 persons were selected.
The call for volunteers was among various steps that the district administration took to prepare for any eventuality, said an official.
He said in times of emergency, volunteers share work with staffers so that existing manpower was not strained.
Huma Raiel Assad, a paramedical volunteer is working in CD Hospital laboratory. She said her experience as volunteer was enriching.
“I had no idea about BSL3 facility in Kashmir. This work added to my knowledge,” she said.
Another group of volunteers have been working to deliver essentials and medicines. This group prepares the packs of essential items which can last for a month for a family of four members.
Kashmir Welfare Trust, headed by Manzoor Wangnoo has delivered around 6,000 packs of essential commodities to needy families while following the set protocol.
Wangoo said he got all sort of support in terms of facilitating movement of volunteers, by the administration.
“This pandemic is not like 2006 earthquake or 2014 devastating floods. This virus is going to stay with us for long. So, the volunteers and NGOs need to brace up for the challenge,” he said.
He said he found people in anxiety and depression as they lost their source of livelihood.
“This pandemic has also taught us several lessons. Let us pledge to make our Nikkah ceremonies simple as per Islamic tradition,” he appealed people.
Inviting volunteers to serve the community was the concept developed by district administration Srinagar. “There is no space for even a minor error when you are fighting a pandemic of this nature. We learnt from the mistakes by other nations to fight the pandemic effectively,” said Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.
Lauding the role of volunteers, he said the administration also recognizes the spirit of those who registered their names as volunteers but did not get the chance to work in field.
Several youngsters in their respective localities also started helping people in their own way.
While youngster developed an app that gives corona updates and others extended help to needy.