Hyderabad: Youngsters rise to fight pandemic; social media turns control room

Rikit Shahi

Hyderabad: As the pandemic rages on relentlessly, with many struggling to find plasma, drugs like Remdesivir and even oxygen and food, the people of Hyderabad are once again rising to the occasion.

The response to pleas for help on social media is one example, with many quite active in tweeting or posting crucial information in reply to queries that range from where to find oxygen beds, plasma, home testing facilities and beds with ventilators to even for help on dipping saturation levels, volunteers to shift patients and food for Covid-19 patients.

K Medha, an education and social work consultant has created a web-based app www.hydcovidresources.com, which has information pertaining to COVID resources in the city. “I realised that there are many requests for oxygen, plasma, injections etc., in the city and a lot of phone number lists have been floating around. I started a spreadsheet to get the right information about contacts and resources. My friend Vensy Krishna and I then decided to launch an easy-to-use app and now that app has all the info at one go. We also verify each and every number on that database, before it is uploaded,” explains Medha. The app got over 10K downloads in less than 24 hours.

Another platform, hydcovid.com, started by city-based professional Sugandh Rakha, does the same, providing all info at one go. “With the spike in the cases, I wanted to get knowledge on how to tackle it in case my family is affected. Then I started compiling all the resources at one go and once I had enough resources, I built that website,” he shares.

Some, like city-based law student Rikit Shahi, are actively on the roads running errands and delivering groceries for people in isolation. Since posting a tweet that said “If you live in and around Khairtabad (Hyderabad), are in isolation and need someone to run errands for you, reach out to me. Will be happy to help. (sic)” on April 16, Rikit has been endlessly running errands, delivering groceries and medicines for several people in the city.

“I’m still delivering and now have regular customers too,” Rikit tweeted on Wednesday after being on the ground for the fourth straight day running errands.

There are more who are choosing to coordinate on WhatsApp groups and social media. Combat Covid is one such WhatsApp group that has been active since the first wave. “After my family went through a massive Covid crisis, we realised that it needs an extensive network to tackle the disease. My brother and I started a WhatsApp group in July last year and that group ended up coordinating and helping with everything, from testing to ICU beds, Remdesivir, plasma, sanitisation and as bad as it sounds, Covid funerals as well,” says Aditya Pochampally, an admin of that group.

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